Entries in Reconstructive Surgery (4)


Following Accident, Peruvian Teen to Undergo Genital Reconstruction

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MIAM) -- After an accident with his father's rifle when he was 9 years old left him without a penis, Luis Canelos, now 17, of Peru will soon be undergoing genital reconstruction surgery, thanks to the efforts of a Miami plastic surgeon and a Florida non-profit organization that provides medical care to children in need.

"I first admit I was a little unsure about the case," said Maria Luisa Chesa, executive director of International Kids Fund's Wonderfund, which helped to coordinate Canelos' surgery.  "But then I realized how important this surgery was for this young man, not just cosmetically.  It really goes beyond that to be something that will definitely change his life."

After Canelos, who has eight brothers and sisters, accidentally shot himself in the groin, he was transported to a hospital in Lima, nearly three hours away from his family's home in a remote village off the Amazon River.  Doctors worked to repair Canelos' intestinal damage, said Dr. Christopher Salgado, associate professor of surgery and section chief of plastic surgery at the University of Miami, but he'd "blown off his external genitalia except for a small portion of his right testicle."

"The goal of the operation is not just for him to have something that he can show off in a locker room," said Salgado.  "It's so, hopefully, he can father a family."

The 20-hour operation will take place at Holtz Children Hospital at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.  Salgado will lead the surgical team, which will include a microsurgeon and a pediatric urologist.

"This isn't a procedure that is done in every hospital," said Salgado.  "There are very few people that do this kind of reconstruction."

While doctors will be performing Canelos' surgery for free, Chesa said, IKF Wonderfund must still raise about $50,000 to cover hospital costs.

Salgado said that typically, phallus reconstruction, or phalloplasty, can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000.

According to Dr. Andrew Panossian, an assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at USC Keck School of Medicine, phalloplasty is challenging and rare.

"It's a superspecialist kind of job," said Panossian.  "You're doing very fine work and it's all sort of minutia that make this life changing thing happen."

Panossian said the procedure is like creating a tube within a tube.  It requires a specific pattern of harvesting skin along with blood vessels and nerves to create a phallus.  Then, a separate tube must run within the new phallus for sperm and urine to leave the body, he explained.

Salgado said he planned to take tissue from Canelos' forearm and make a penis out if it by sewing the skin up to arteries, veins and nerves.

Canelos told ABC News that he was very nervous about his upcoming surgery but was hoping for a positive outcome.

"I want to have a family, yes.  I want to have a family by my side," he said.  "I am so happy.  I thank God for allowing me to come here with the non-profit.  I thank them for giving me this opportunity."

When he returns to Peru after his recovery, Canelos said he wanted to continue his schooling, and hopes one day to have a career as an agricultural engineer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Reconstruction After Mastectomy: Surgeon Works to Restore Hope

Comstock/Thinkstock(GREAT NECK, N.Y.) -- We have heard a lot about breast cancer prevention and treatment, but there is a component that is not spoken about as often -- the physical and emotional impact that comes with the loss of a woman’s breasts for the treatment or prevention of cancer.

Dr. Ron Israeli of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, P.C., in Great Neck, N.Y., is a plastic surgeon, as well as a sculptor, who developed a project called Breast Reconstruction -- Restoring Wholeness, for which he made life-size sculptures of six of his patients.

The exhibit serves as a three-dimensional reflection of the transformation a woman’s body goes through after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction and speaks to the weight of this type of surgery.

Speaking about women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, Dr. Israeli says in a short documentary produced by Mediastorm: “Now all of a sudden they have to make decisions, important decisions, real decisions, under-fire, there is a sense of urgency and there is a fear.”

Through his surgery and his sculptures, Dr. Israeli tries to quell that fear by not only rebuilding a woman’s physical body, but by also working to give those at the beginning of the process hope that they will be whole again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lab-Grown Urethras Prove to Be Successful

Comstock/Thinkstock(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.) -- Severe damage to the urethra leading to the inability to urinate frequently requires reconstructive procedures. The current standard of practice involves growing urethral replacements from the patient's skin in a petri dish.  But skin isn't the same as urethral tissue, so these procedures sometimes lead to improper tissue development necessitating repeated surgeries. But a new study, published in The Lancet, reports a new method of growing urethras using bladder cell, eliminating improper tissue development.

This study focused on five boys with an average age of 11 years with urethral defects. Instead of taking skin samples, the authors swabbed the urethral area for cells and grew them into tubular urethras in a petri dish.  These grafts were then used to replace the damaged urethra.  After three months, the implanted urethras developed a normal appearance with no defects and the children had normal urine flow up to six years after the procedure.

The study authors concluded that this procedure could become an alternative to the current standard of practice, leading to fewer complications and subsequent surgeries.

"The study shows that 'tissues can be engineered using the patients' own cells, and they last long term," said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a co-author of the study.

Urethral reconstructive surgery by current methods has only a 50-percent success rate, Dr. Atala told ABC News. However by using tissue from the same organ, with their technique, the chances of failure are greatly reduced. 

Dr. Atala also added that clinical trials are underway for the same procedure in adult patients.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐


12-Pound Tumor Swallows Man's Face

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Jose Mestre's face was consumed by a 12-pound tumor, an explosive growth of blood vessels that blinded him in one eye and invaded his mouth, making it difficult to breathe and nearly impossible to eat.

Doctors in his native Portugal had given up hope that they could operate on the 53-year-old former traffic guard, and Mestre had resigned himself to the fact that he surely would die.

But now Mestre is on the road to recovery.

He was born with a venous malformation, also called a hemangioma, one that had begun growing uncontrollably at the age of 14. These tumors typically increase in size during puberty and his had begun to distort all of his facial features.

Eating was difficult, causing bleeding on his tongue. Mestre's left eye was also completely destroyed as the tumor literally swallowed his face.

His mother was a Jehovah's Witness -- a religious denomination that bans blood transfusions -- and she wanted her son to follow her faith. But three years ago, Mestre's mother died and his younger sister became his guardian and became more proactive in seeking medical care.

The biggest debate was whether Mestre should have facial allotransplantation -- or a human face transplant. Mestre and his sister chose surgery, which was also dangerous.

Mestre's journey took him from Portugal to St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago, where employees raised money to house him for three months and plastic surgeon Dr. McKay McKinnon performed three risky procedures to save the man's face.

In the first procedure over the course of three months, Mestre underwent a tracheostomy to give him a protected airway. Ninety-eight percent of the tumor was removed. In the second surgery, doctors took out a small residual portion of the tumor and began reconstruction of his mouth and nose. An additional tumor on his tongue was also removed. In a third procedure, doctors fed a nasal gastric tube into Mestre to maintain proper nutrition. They repaired skin tissue that had broken down after the two previous surgeries.

His doctors say the tumor is not likely to grow back and that Mestre's future holds promise. He may need minor surgery to his gums or tongue, but he is not longer in danger of losing his life. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio