Entries in Implants (6)


Tadpoles ‘See’ Through Eyes Implanted in Their Tails

Douglas J. Blackiston and Michael Levin(NEW YORK) -- Researchers have implanted eyes in the tails of otherwise-sightless tadpoles, and report in a new study that they had some success in getting them to see, or at least detect colored light through them.

The findings, they say, may mean big things in the study of the nervous systems of other animals and even humans.

“The body stores information about its geometric shape and configuration of organs,” said Michael Levin of Tufts University in an email to ABC News.  “This study was the first in our effort to understand how the brain and nervous system interact with this anatomical information network. We wanted to know if the brain can use data from organs in aberrant locations, so we grafted cells that will make an eye from one embryo (the donor) to another one’s tail.”

Levin is the director of Tufts’ Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology.  He and his co-author, post-doctoral fellow Douglas Blackiston, will have their research published in the March 15 edition of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

So, how exactly was the study conducted?

When a donor eye was grafted to the tail of a tadpole, researchers made note of how the nerves of the eye would grow and attach to the tissue around them.  In some cases, the nerves would attach -- or innervate -- to the spine of the tadpole, sometimes the stomach, and sometimes the eye did not attach itself at all.

A test was then conducted to determine whether the implanted eyes actually worked.  The tadpoles were placed in a round chamber with blue light on one side and red on the other.  If they swam toward the red light, they got a tiny electric shock.  Soon, some of the tadpoles learned to swim toward the blue area -- something they would have been unable to do unless they could sense the difference in color.

The tadpoles that successfully avoided the red light were ones whose implanted eyes had connected to the spine, part of the nervous system.  If the implanted eye made nerve connections to the stomach, or none at all, the tadpole swam aimlessly -- showing it could not tell the difference between red and blue.

Levin said the experiment could have implications for regenerative medicine -- “replacing damaged organs with new, properly innervated, functional ones” -- or augmenting the senses -- “maybe you want an extra eye, one that sees in infra-red or UV perhaps?”  He said it might help in the understanding of how bodies evolve, and maybe in the design of future robots.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Implantable Birth Control Known to Go Missing in Women's Bodies

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Implanted and embedded birth-control devices are among the latest contraceptives to hit the market.  Depending on a woman’s preference, the small, seemingly invisible pieces can be inserted in the uterus, or even lodged under the skin of the forearm.

Get it and forget it, say many companies and doctors who recommend the devices to busy women who might lose track of a daily pill.  But it’s possible -- although rare -- for the hormonal contraceptive device to go missing in a woman’s body, experts say.

It’s unclear how many times that has happened in the United States, but many women in the U.K. say they fear infertility after their under-the-skin implanted device, Implanon, got lost, according to an article in the U.K. Daily Mail.

Merck, the New Jersey-based manufacturer of Implanon, declined to go into detail about the device’s movement in a women’s body, instead citing warnings in the patient handout.

Its literature cites “problems of insertion and removal” as a potential risk of the device.

“Removal of the implant may be very difficult or impossible because the implant is not where it should be,” according to Merck’s patient handout on the device.

Dr. Alan Penzias, director of the fellowship program in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Boston IVF, said, “The most likely cause in cases where it was inserted correctly is migration within the deep fatty tissue of the upper arm.”

Although safe for women even if lost, they might not be able to conceive until the device is either located and removed, or until the hormone runs out, which can be up to a few years.

“There is no reason to think it would cause permanent infertility,” Dr. Lauren Streicher, a gynecologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said.

“The 'worst-case' scenario would require a slightly more involved procedure to remove the device if it embeds itself more deeply than planned,” Penzias said.

The same can be true with intrauterine contraceptives, where the device might embed deeper than necessary.

“Infection is not a consequence since the device was placed under sterile conditions,” he said.

Streicher, who has never encountered such a case, said, “It is rare for any of these devices to migrate from their appropriate location and it won’t just show up at another random location.”

In rare cases, intrauterine devices can perforate the uterus and end up in the abdominal cavity, she said, but is unlikely to cause any complications if removed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Diabetic Sues Doctor After Penis Amputation

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A man who elected to have a penile implant in a Florida hospital is now suing his doctor after a post-surgical infection resulted in the amputation of his organ.

Enrique Milla, 65, who was reportedly deported from the United States last year back to his native Peru, has been testifying in court via Skype that the medical procedure robbed him of his dignity and manhood.

In a medical malpractice trial that began this week, Milla claims that his doctors should have known that he was not a good candidate for the procedure because of his diabetes and high blood pressure.

"This has been devastating, painful and embarrassing," said Milla's attorney, Spencer Aronfeld of Coral Gables, according to ABC's affiliate WPLG.

Milla alleges that his anesthesiologist Dr. Laurentiu Boeru "failed to evaluate properly the risks of this procedure." He first filed the lawsuit in 2009, naming Boeru and Dr. Paul Perito, the urologist who performed the surgery.

According to the Miami Herald, which obtained records that are not publicly available, Perito settled the case out of court.

Penile implant surgery is most commonly performed after all other treatments for erectile dysfunction have failed. It is also used to treat some cases of Peyronie's disease, a condition that causes scarring inside the penis, leading to bent, painful erections.

Implant surgery comes with a risk of infection, which can occur at any time after surgery -- in rare cases, even years later, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Milla suffered from a number of medical conditions, including erectile dysfunction, according to court records. Milla, who had lived in Miami for 40 years working in a medical supply business, received the surgery in 2007 at Coral Gables Hospital. But two weeks after the operation, Milla developed an infection that eventually turned to gangrene. Amputation of his penis was necessary to save his life, according to his lawyer, who alleges Boeru didn't exercise proper care after the surgery.

"Post-operative period is about anywhere between six to 24 hours after surgery. It does not include either days or months," testified Boeru.

"This is an infection that occurred in this gentleman because he didn't do what he was supposed to do post-operatively nine days after the surgery," Boeru's lawyer Jay Chimpoulis, told WPLG.

He suggested that Milla ignored medical instructions to avoid sex and developed a fecal infection.

"There are any number of ways he could've gotten that. None of them had anything to do with [Boeru]," Chimpoulis said.

Dr. Pravin Rao, director of reproductive medicine and surgery at the Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute, said penile implants, called prostheses, are safe for patients who are in good health -- even those with diabetes, as long as the disease is "controlled." The risk rate is lower than three percent, according to Rao, who did not treat Milla.

Penile implants are among a "long algorithm of options" for those with erectile dysfunction, according to Rao. Urologists start with pills like Viagra -- the least invasive approach -- to vacuum erection devices and injection therapy. But sometimes those treatments fail because of the quality of the tissue in the penis or poor blood flow. The most common reason for ED is chronic disease that affects the vessels in the penis -- most often diabetes, hypertension, smoking or high cholesterol. Nerve damage, caused by spinal cord injuries, diabetes or radical prostate cancer surgery, can also trigger ED.

A poor candidate for a prosthesis is someone who is not in overall good health and may be at risk under anesthesia or not be able to withstand the blood loss of surgery.

"The number-one concern is infection, and that's why we make sure their overall health and immune status are good and their diabetes is under control," said Rao.

When infection does occur, the prosthesis must be immediately removed to clear the infection.

The prosthesis is an inflatable device that is inserted in the two tubes of the penis. The balloons can be filled up with fluid, creating an erection. A small pump is placed in the scrotum with a reservoir of fluid that connects to the tubing.

"When we first place it, we don't have it activated to create a full erection," said Rao. "Then after letting it heal for six weeks, [the patient] comes in and we teach them how to use the pump by squeezing it."

Patients are told not to have sex during that recuperative period.

Rao said that penile implants are "very successful and infection is not the norm."

Some studies of patients with diabetes and those without the disease had the same rate of infection. "But," he said, "we have to be prudent about picking the patient."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman's Body 'Swallows' Breast Implant

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Pilates is intended to realign the body. With every focused breath and movement, the physical fitness system is supposed to help you achieve balance as you reach deep into your body's core.

But all one 59-year old woman found in her core was her right breast implant, which shifted when she engaged in a deep exhale.

The case of the pilates-session-turned-breast-disappearing act was published by Johns Hopkins' University emergency medicine doctors in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The woman, who had not been identified, had a history of breast cancer and had undergone a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

But while forcefully exhaling while keeping her mouth closed and nose pinched shut -- called the Valsalva maneuver -- the woman lost her implant somewhere in her body.

I remember her saying, 'My body swallowed my boob,' Dr. Tiffany Fong, resident physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, told ABC News.

An ultrasound performed in the emergency room helped doctors find the implant, which was lodged between the lower part of the woman's right lung and ribcage.

"When she would do the breathing maneuver, we saw a part of the chest bulge out," said Fong. "We found that it was a part of her lung that was protruding."

But for this woman, it didn't hurt as bad as it sounds, the emergency physicians wrote in the case report.

"She could've had a hard time breathing because it would've taken up space in her lungs," Dr. Gedge Rosson, director of breast reconstruction at Johns Hopkins Hospital, told ABC News. Fortunately, she didn't.

More than 90,000 breast reconstruction procedures were performed in 2010, an eight percent increase from the previous year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and while there are many different types of reconstruction procedures, breast reconstruction surgery heals much like other surgeries.

The incision area should not be subjected to excessive force or motion during healing, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Patients are often advised to wait about four to six weeks before exercising. The same waiting time recommendations apply for heart valve surgery, said Rosson.

The woman described had also undergone a procedure to repair one of her heart valves, which required surgeons to re-enter from the same incision used for her reconstruction operation. The heart valve procedure required surgeons to create a tiny incision between her ribs.

According to Rosson, the incision from the heart procedure, not the breast reconstruction, caused the implant to move out of place.

"It made a tiny enough opening to make the breast implant fall through," said Rosson. "If you just have breast reconstruction alone, this is highly unlikely."

Fong recalled that the woman participated in the Pilates session about three months after her surgery, which was outside the restriction window.

The surgeons retrieved the implant from her chest, repositioned it in its proper place, and sealed the internal incision with mesh.

This type of case is extremely rare, Fong said. She recalled finding only three similar reported cases of women who'd lost their breast implants.

But Rosson said this rare case shouldn't deter women from exercising after the recommended wait time is over, as exercise can help keep women who have undergone such procedures healthy and in good spirits, he said.

"Patients should really not be worried about having a breast reconstruction," said Rosson.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Want Pippa Middleton's Butt?

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Pippa Middleton stole the show at the royal wedding of her big sister, Kate, to Prince William. Now she is stealing the hearts of plastic surgery patients everywhere -- or, rather, her rear end is.

The sister-in-law of Britain's apparent future king is the inspiration behind the latest trend in cosmetic surgery, called the "Pippa butt lift."

The name Pippa Middleton held marginal significance until the April 29 wedding of William and Kate, when Middleton, 27, wowed the crowd in a form-fitting bridesmaid dress by Alexander McQueen that left royal wedding watchers asking two things: could her gown have been padded and, if not, how do I get that back?

Facebook groups and blogs dedicated to Pippa's posterior soon popped up, earning Middleton the moniker, "Her Royal Hotness."

Now that plastic surgeons around the world are offering the procedure, patients are flooding in, each of them seeking the same thing: the best royal seat in the house.

"In that wedding gown, she created a stir," Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Constantino Mendieta told ABC’s Good Morning America. "People want those dimensions."

Mendieta, author of the book The Art of Gluteal Sculping, says 80 percent of his cosmetic work is now butt lifts, with 20 percent of those requests made specifically for achieving Middleton's rear end.

"She's got a nice rump that's not too big," Christina Valdez, a 28-year-old single mother from Miami, told GMA. "Her frame just looked incredible in that dress."

Valdez was so intrigued by Middleton's look that she too became a patient of Mendieta, requesting the "Pippa butt lift."

Valdez says she felt confident the cosmetic benefits of the surgery would outweigh the risks that come associated with any plastic surgery procedure, including, for her own butt lift, having to gain weight because new fat is easier to shape and mold.

"I've always had a little bit of a complex with my stomach and trying to fill in the back side a little more," she said. "I would absolutely love to be able to wear a nice fitted dress and have my waistline back and a nice rump to go with it."

In a surgery that lasted two hours, Mendieta injected fat from Valdez's stomach into her backside in order to slim her waist and contour her rear into perfect Pippa fashion. Six weeks later, despite not being able to sit for long periods of time and knowing there is a chance her rear will shrink in the months to come, Valdez said she is happy.

"I love the results," she said. "It looks beautiful, feels great and I feel sexy."

As for why she did not just turn to padding or different clothes to achieve a similar look, Valdez has a quick answer.

"At the end of the day, the clothes come off," she said. "I want it to be mine and be sexy and not have to worry about stuffing my backside."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Experts Say FDA Should Abandon Approval Process

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A panel of medical experts said the government should abandon its system for approving most medical devices in the U.S., because it offers patients no assurance of safety.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently uses a streamlined review, called 501(k), to approve products that are similar to those it has already approved. The streamlined review, used for about 90 percent of medical device applications, including those for knee and hip replacement, takes about 10 months, as opposed to the several years a more complex review would take.

The Institute of Medicine said in a report released Friday that the FDA should instead require each device maker to prove that moderate-risk products are safe and effective, and possibly test the devices on actual patients. Last week, the Government Accountability Office said that a staggering 83 percent of 700 devices recalled every year are moderate-risk.

"The 501(k) process lacks the legal basis to be a reliable premarket screen of the safety and effectiveness of moderate-risk Class II devices and cannot be transformed into one," states the institute's report.

The FDA said it stands behind the 501(k) approval process because it has helped support a "robust medical device industry in the U.S. and has helped bring lower-risk devices to the market for patients who need them." It will, however, have a public meeting to discuss the institute's recommendations.

The device industry's top lobbying group immediately dismissed the proposal.

"The report's conclusions do not deserve serious consideration from Congress or the administration," said Stephen Ubl, president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association. "It proposes abandoning efforts to address the serious problems with the administration of the current program by replacing it at some unknown date with an untried, unproven and unspecified new legal structure."

Artificial hips and knees are now a nearly $7 billion market, with 1 million people getting either knee or hip surgery every year, according to several reports. Many of those patients, however, have had to endure second surgeries, because the devices already inside them were faulty.

Patients are urged to ask their doctors if they are paid by the maker of the implant they're recommending. Patients are also encouraged to check the device maker's website. The device maker must by law list all the doctors it compensates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio