First drone delivery of organ for human transplant

My late brother Mark was a transplant surgeon. He told me how sometimes he'd be woken up in the middle of the night to fly to a nearby city to retrieve, say, a kidney, from someone who had just died (frequently in a motorcycle crash), then carry the organ on a plane to another city where he'd install the kidney into a waiting patient, and then fly back home. (He felt it important to personally retrieve the organ that he'd then be transplanting.) I thought of that process while reading about the first drone delivery of a donated kidney that resulted in a successful transplant for a 40-year-old woman who had been on dialysis for 8 years. The drone delivery system was designed by researchers from the University of Maryland and organ donation nonprofit the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland. The kidney only traveled three miles but was a major step forward. From the New York Times:

The team’s leader, Dr. Joseph R. Scalea, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said he pursued the project after constant frustration over organs taking too long to reach his patients. After organs are removed from a donor, they become less healthy with each passing second. He recalled one case when a kidney from Alabama took 29 hours to reach his hospital.

The drone used in this month’s test had backup propellers and motors, dual batteries and a parachute recovery system, to guard against catastrophe if one component encountered a problem 400 feet in the air.

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Porcupine quills are sharp AF and inspiring a new kind of surgical staple

From Deep Look:

The quills of North American porcupines have microscopic backward-facing barbs on the tips. Those barbs make the quills slide in easy but very difficult to remove.

Researchers at Harvard are looking to porcupine quills for inspiration in designing a new type of surgical staple that would also use tiny barbs to keep itself lodged into the patient’s skin. This helps because traditional staples curve in under the skin to keep the staple in place. This creates more damage and can provide a place for bacteria to infect the wound.

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The surgeon who removed his own appendix

On April 29, 1961, Dr. Leonid Rogozov was in Antarctica in a blizzard when his stomach began to hurt. Badly. The only physician on the Soviet Antarctic Expedition, Rogozov realized his appendix needed to come out before it burst and killed him. Rogozov's only choice was to take the matter into his hands. He roped in a meteorologist and a driver to assist. From MDLinx:

Dr. Rogozov assumed a semi-reclined position designed to allow him to perform the operation with minimal use of a mirror...

“It was frequently necessary to raise my head in order to see better, and sometimes I had to work entirely by feel,” Dr. Rogozov wrote. “General weakness became severe after 30 to 40 minutes, and vertigo developed, so that short pauses for rest were necessary.”

Toward the end of the operation, Dr. Rogozov nearly lost consciousness and he feared he would not survive....

After resection of the severely diseased vermiform appendix (including a 2 × 2 cm perforation at the base), antibiotics were introduced into the peritoneal cavity, and he closed the wound...

Understandably, he described his postoperative condition as “moderately poor,” although signs of peritonitis resolved during the next 4 days. At 5 days post-surgery, his fever diminished, and the sutures were removed by day 7. After 2 weeks, he was back to work.

(via Historic) Read the rest

Youngest person ever given new face in transplant surgery

The September National Geographic cover story follows Katie Stubblefield as she is given the face of 31-year-old donor Adrea Schneider, a woman who died of a cocaine overdose. 21-year-old Katie had been waiting three years for a donor face after a self-inflicted rifle injury and, last year, she became the youngest person ever to get a face transplant. Her procedure took 31 hours to complete and many more operations and months of rehabilitation are still required.

After surviving her suicide attempt, Katie Stubblefield hopes to help people who are struggling. For Americans her age, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and the overall rate increased 28 percent from 1999 to 2016. “Whatever is going on in your life, I would say that it’s only temporary,” Katie says. “And no matter what it is, there’s always someone you can talk to.”

If you think you can stomach the graphic images of the surgery, head over to National Geographic to get the full story. They documented Katie, her family, and her doctors before, during and the year following the surgery: How a Transplanted Face Transformed Katie Stubblefield’s Life.

Previously: Amazing face transplant gives firefighter new mug

(Neatorama), screenshot via Nat Geo Read the rest

Woman plays flute while undergoing brain surgery

Musician Anna Henry suffered from essential tremor, a movement disorder that causes shaky hands. As the conditioned worsened, it interfered with her flute playing. So she underwent a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation to cure it. The Texas Medical Center surgeons implanted a battery pack in her chest that delivers tiny voltages to the brain's thalamus, a key region responsible for controlling movement. She was kept awake during the operation, a common practice to test the device and avoid brain damage. The procedure worked. From the Texas Medical Center:

The result was like flipping a switch. Prior to the surgery, Henry’s neurologist, Mya Schiess, M.D., of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth, ran a few motor control tests. Henry could barely sign her name, let alone hold a pen. When handed a cup of water, her hand shook so intensely that the water splashed inside the cup.

But after the electrodes were placed in her brain and the thalamus was stimulated, Henry’s hand was still and stable, without a single detectable tremor. When she signed her name a second time, each pen stroke was smooth and clean. Her handwriting was legible for the first time in decades.

The surgical team handed Henry her flute to test if her hands were stable enough to play. As she remained on the operating bed, she lifted her flute to her mouth and treated everyone in the operating room not only to a sweet melody, but the joy of seeing her tremor disappear.

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With $35k in surgery, man turns self into elf

Luis Padron, 25, has spent huge sums of money on cosmetic surgery in order to resemble an elf.

He has almost spent more than £25,000 on surgery including liposuction on his jaw, a nose job, full body hair removal and operations to change his eye colour. ... He is planning surgery to make his ears pointed, hair implants for a heart-shaped hairline and a limb lengthening operation to make him 6ft 5in tall.

Mr Padron fell in love with the fantasy genre during his early teenage years, while struggling with bullies who mocked him because he dyed his hair and had different dress sense.

But by the end of high school, he claimed his quirkiness led to him being admired, which further fuelled his desire to be different.

He added: 'I was bullied as a child and as an escape I would submerge myself in fantasy movies like Labyrinth and The NeverEnding Story, as well as other fantasy tales.

'Over time things changed, older teens liked me because I was unique and that's what encouraged me to start turning what I felt on the inside into a reality.

From an aesthetic perspective, I think he's executing his goals unusually well, which is largely due to broadened horizons among competent surgeons. There will be more of this in future from the rich (and those willing to tolerate a lifetime of debt). But I must say his is a rather sickly and emo-looking sort of elf. It's like he set out to turn his body into an illustration rather than an embodied creature; the details require "a £4,000-a-month ritual applying creams, dyes and treatment," according to the Daily Mail. Read the rest

Man with bionic penis must endure 2 week erection before using it

40-year-old Andrew Wardle was born without a penis, but after 100 surgeries he now has one. Now, comes a two-week waiting period during which he will have a persistent erection. After that, his doctors will grant him permission to have sex with his girlfriend.

From Vice:

Wardle's new penis was created using skin, muscle, and nerve grafts from his arms and fitted with cylinders that fill with fluid when pumped from a small sac installed in his ball sac, which is how he'll get an erection. However, doctors will have to go in and essentially turn the rig on, a process that will leave Wardle in the hospital for three days and give him an boner that will last two long weeks.

On Wednesday, Wardle told the hosts of British television show This Morning that he'll spend those two weeks inside so as not to show the world the rocket that will be in his pocket. Speaking of which, he also told the hosts he did not get to select the size of his new member, which seems like a major oversight in the way bionic phalluses are constructed.

Once the robo-cock is switched on and his two-week erection dies down, Wardle will be able to have sex with his girlfriend, Fedra Fabian, for the first time. She revealed on the show that the two had been dating for nine months before she found out about his condition and she read about it in the newspaper. "I didn't know how to react to it," she said.

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Patient's fart in surgery causes fire, severe burns

A patient at Tokyo Medical University Hospital was undergoing laser surgery on her uterus when she farted, apparently starting a fire that badly burnt her.

"When the patient's intestinal gas leaked into the space of the operation (room), it ignited with the irradiation of the laser, and the burning spread, eventually reaching the surgical drape and causing the fire," according to a report from the hospital.

(The Straits Times) Read the rest

Robot stitches a grape back together

Here's a da Vinci Surgical System robot performing a delicate operation on a grape. Read the rest

Police officer swallowed 40 knives because he "felt like eating" them

In Amritsar, India, surgeons removed 40 knives from a police officer complaining of stomach pain.

"Patient's ultrasound revealed a growth in his stomach," Dr. Jatinder Malhotra, managing director of The Corporate Hospital, told the Times of India. "To confirm the diagnosis, an endoscopy was done which showed a few metallic knives inside the stomach. After that a CT Scan of the abdomen was done, which showed multiple knives inside the stomach."

During the last two months, said the 40-year-old patient, "I felt like eating knives and ate them."

The surgery took five hours and the patient is expected to make a full recovery. The news report references that he has a "psychological problem" but does not specify if it is pica, a disorder in which an individual is compelled to eat material that isn't food, such as paper, hair, or rocks.

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Very weird looking synthetic dog for surgical training

Tampa, Florida company SynDaver Labs, makers of fake body parts for clinical training and studies (as seen on Mythbusters), has developed a synthetic canine to be operated on by veterinary students learning surgery.

"It bleeds, it breathes, it can even die,” veterinarian David Danielson told MyNews13.

From SynDaver Labs:

Thousands of shelter dogs are used each year in surgical training at veterinary colleges around the globe. Some of these animals are euthanized before delivery to the schools and some are delivered alive to be used in terminal labs, where the animals are euthanized after.

The SynDaver faux dog costs nearly $30,000 and the company has launched an Indiegogo campaign to donate the synthetic canines to vet colleges.

. Read the rest

Doctors perform first penis transplant in U.S.

Thomas Manning, 64, is recovering after receiving the first penis transplant in the United States. Manning had his penis amputated in 2012 due to penile cancer. It took 15 hours for surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital to complete the transplant, medically known as a "gentitourinary vascularized composite allograft." The surgery involved "grafting the complex microscopic vascular and neural structures of a donor organ onto the comparable structures of the recipient." According to the surgeons, the procedure could someday be used for gender reconstruction. From CNN:

Dr. Dicken Ko, director of the hospital's Regional Urology Program, said the objectives of the surgery were primarily to reconstruct the genitalia so that it appeared natural, followed by urinary function and hopefully sexual function. However, Ko added that while sexual function is a goal, reproduction is not, because of a concern surrounding the ethical issues of who the potential father may be.

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Amazing face transplant gives firefighter new mug

In 2001, the roof of a flaming building fell on volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison, burning his firefighting mask onto his head. As a result, Hardison, now 41, has spent more than a decade without a face. Now, Hardison has the face of David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old who died in a bicycling accident and donated much of his body for transplant. Surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez and a team at the New York University Langone Medical Center performed the facial transplant, "the most extensive" in history according to the hospital.

Hardison also received a new scalp, ears, ear canals, chin and cheek bones, and Rodebaugh's nose. Previously unable to close his eyes totally, he now has eyelids and also muscles for blinking.

New York University paid for the transplant, totaling $850,000 to one million dollars.

"Biography of a Face" (New York Magazine via CNN) Read the rest

Scientists: Music makes surgery patients feel better

For more than a century, physicians have used music to make patients feel better before, during, and after surgery. A new scientific meta-study looks at the evidence and confirms that yes, listening to music has measurable pain-killing properties and reduces anxiety around surgery. Read the rest

Video of man singing opera while undergoing brain surgery

Professional singer Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne sang opera during neurosurgery for a brain tumor, at his physicians' request so they could monitor his singing ability and "avoid deficits after the procedure," he writes. Read the rest

Disabled chicken will receive a 3D-printed prosthetic leg

In America, chicken has better health care than you.

WATCH: Emergency moth surgery

YouTuber Eric Nordrum found a beautiful cecropia moth being attacked by a robin, then used online instructions to repair the moth's damaged wing before releasing it. Read the rest

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