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Entries in surgery (83)

Tuesday
Nov222011

Thin People At Greater Risk of Dying After Surgery, Study Finds

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Being thin isn't an advantage when it comes to surviving surgery, a new study finds.

University of Virginia researchers say that heavier people have a lower chance of dying within 30 days after an operation as opposed to their thinner counterparts.  George Stukenborg and his team aren't really sure why that is after setting out to learn how obesity affects the risk of surviving surgery.

Typically, people with higher body mass index rates are prone to contract more life-threatening diseases, but these new findings of post-surgery complications among thin patients have left scientists puzzled.

Dr. Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz, chief of bariatric surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, believes the answer is that, "a lot of these patients are malnourished -- maybe cancer patients, patients undergoing treatment for other medical problems.  A lot of time these patients don't have the defenses to do well with a major surgery."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

Chinese Man Has Severed Fingertip Attached to Stomach 

Rubberball/Mike Kemp(LIAONING PROVINCE, China) -- A Chinese man who accidentally severed his finger tip with an electric saw, but doctors managed to save the sliced-off digit by attaching it to his stomach, reports orange.co.uk.

[CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTO]

The muscle and skin had been cut away from the end of his finger leaving only bone showing.  

“We had to make a quick decision or he could have lost his finger,” said Dr. Huang Xuesong. “We decided to cultivate a new fingertip on his stomach."

The technique restores blood circulation in the severed part so it can begin to heal.  The surgery is being called a complete success, and the man will have a new fingertip when it is separated from his stomach and reattached in about a month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

Woman Loses 130 Lbs. Months after Radical Stomach Surgery

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in as long as she can remember, Holly Matherne is excited about shopping. Last October Matherne was a size 32. Today she's a size 18 and dropping. An addiction to clothes is replacing her previous addiction: food.

In an interview with ABC’s Nightline last October, Matherne said, "I've been fighting with weight since I was 6 years old. I've been on every diet, I've been to a nutritionist, Weight Watchers, reduce fat, reduce calorie, you name it, I've done it. I may lose weight here and there, but then it winds up creeping back on. It's all tied to emotion. I'm obviously an emotional eater."

Last fall Matherne weighed 370 pounds, and she knew she had to turn her life around before it was too late, she said. After years of unsuccessful dieting, Matherne decided to have sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical operation to remove most of her stomach. The procedure cost around $30,000 and is irreversible.

Dr. David Treen was Matherne's bariatric surgeon.

"The beauty of the sleeve gastrectomy is that the patients lose weight twice as fast as what we've seen with other surgical procedures," Treen said. "There is no question this is the single best option for patients who the weight has just gotten out of control."

The surgery takes less than an hour and sheds very little blood. A pouch is cut from the stomach and stapled shut, and the rest of the stomach -- about 85 percent -- is twirled out of a dime-size hole. With that part of the stomach goes a hormone called ghrelin.

"Ghrelin is a powerful appetite stimulant," said Treen, "and when you remove this part of the stomach, most of our patients tell us after surgery, they're not hungry. Ever."

Now, her recovery complete, Matherne has lost 130 pounds since the surgery.

"I find I'm a lot more outgoing," she said. "I always thought I was outgoing, that I had a good personality, but I find I'm less hesitant in social situations."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov032011

Doctor Claims He Can Change Your Eye Color

JupiterImages/Comstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Are you a brown-eyed girl or guy who has always wanted to go blue? Forget the contacts. One doctor says he can make the color change permanent.

Dr. Gregg Homer at Stroma Medical in California announced on KTLA-TV that he had come up with a laser procedure that removes the brown pigment, known as melanin, in the iris. Once removed, the blue color underneath is revealed, giving the person blue eyes. Homer said the procedure takes about 20 seconds.

“We use a laser that’s tuned to a specific frequency to remove the pigment from the surface of the iris,” he told KTLA.

The change is irreversible because, once removed, the melanin cannot grow back.

Homer says he’s been working on the science for 10 years. He told the news channel that he and his team had 15 ranges of “sophisticated” tests to make sure there is no eye tissue damage during or after the procedure.

Homer predicted the procedure would be on the market outside the U.S. in 18 months and available here in three years.

Lasering the iris to destroy the brown pigment to turn it blue is “probably risky,” Dr. Robert Cykiert, associate professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told ABC News.

“When you burn the brown pigment away with a laser, the debris that is created in the front of the eye — think of it as ashes resulting from burning anything — is likely to clog up the microscopic channels in the front of the eye, known as trabecular meshwork,” said Cykiert. “[It] is very likely to cause a high pressure in the eye, known as glaucoma.”

In some patients, this high pressure might be temporary, he said, but in others, it could be permanent. Glaucoma is a disease that can cause serious permanent loss of vision.

Cykiert also said that burning large amounts of brown pigment is likely to cause inflammation and potential damage to the cornea. The procedure could also bring on cataracts, depending on the severity of the inflammation.

Dr. Ivan Schwab, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine and clinical correspondent at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, also has his doubts. He said several long-term studies should get under way before Homer offers the procedure to the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov012011

Conjoined Twin Girls Successfully Separated

Conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco shortly before surgery with their aunt. Courtesy Sabuco Family(STANFORD, Calif.) -- Angelica and Angelina Sabuco, the two-year-old twin girls born connected at the chest and abdomen, successfully underwent separation surgery on Tuesday at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

Doctors told local media the surgery went well and "things basically could not have gone better."

One of the surgeons, Dr. Matias Bruzoni, said "the liver was the toughest part." The girls shared the liver, diaphragms, breast bones and chest, and abdominal wall muscles.

Doctors said the fact the girls' hearts are separate apart from the tips made the operation safer and easier.

The girls will spend about four or five days in the intensive care unit, then about another week in a regular hospital room. After that, they will head home to San Jose, Calif. with their family.

While their mother, Ginady Sabuco, is overjoyed the surgery went well, it was an agonizing two-year journey from learning her babies were conjoined to seeing them finally able to live as two separate little girls.

She found out her baby girls were joined at the chest and abdomen, a condition called thoraco-omphalopagus, when she was seven months pregnant. The news was even tougher to take because at the time, she and her son were living in the Philippines while her husband was working in San Jose.

Sabuco and her children came to the U.S. in September 2010, and a couple of months later, doctors at Packard Children's started evaluating the girls. After months of tests and preliminary procedures, doctors said the twins were ready for separation surgery, but warned that if one twin died, the other would die within hours.

While the hospital wouldn't discuss the cost of the surgery, they said part of the expenses were paid for by the family's medical insurance.

Doctors say the twins need to be separated in order to prevent future health problems, including muscular and skeletal deformities and the psychological stresses of being conjoined.

According to Packard Children's, only about six separation surgeries are done every year in the U.S. Most conjoined twins never survive pregnancy, and only about 25 percent of those who are born will live.

ABC News reported back in September that there have only been about two dozen sets of conjoined twins in the world who were successfully separated. If the surgery goes well, Angelica and Angelina will overcome huge odds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct312011

Conjoined Twins to Be Surgically Separated

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- The joy of expecting twins suddenly turned to despair when Ginady Sabuco of San Jose, Calif., was seven months pregnant.

That's when she found out her baby girls were joined at the chest and abdomen, a condition called thoraco-omphalopagus. The news was even tougher to take because at the time, she and her son were living in the Philippines while her husband was working in San Jose.

"I was asking God: Why us, why me?" said Sabuco, according to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, where the girls, now 2-year-olds named Angelica and Angelina, are scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday to separate them.

Sabuco and her children came to the U.S. in September 2010, and a couple of months later, doctors at Packard Children's started evaluating the girls. After months of tests and preliminary procedures, doctors say the twins are ready for separation surgery and expect it to go very well.

While the hospital wouldn't discuss the cost of the surgery, they said part of the expenses will be paid for by the family's medical insurance.

The surgical team, led by pediatric surgeon Dr. Gary Hartman and pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Lorenz, will separate the girls' diaphragms, livers and bowels and will then reconstruct their chest and abdominal walls using a special plate. Their hearts are almost entirely separate, and while their intestines are fused in some places, their digestive systems function independently.

"The plates will dissolve over about a year and a half," said Lorenz. "That gives the grafted bone plenty of time to fuse, so eventually the girls will have normal bones and stable chests."

After surgery, Angelica and Angelina will recover for about four or five days in an intensive care unit and will then go to a regular hospital room for another week. They will then return home to San Jose, where Sabuco looks forward to them being two very ordinary twin sisters.

Doctors say the twins need to be separated in order to prevent future health problems, including muscular and skeletal deformities and the psychological stresses of being conjoined.

According to Packard Children's, only about six separation surgeries are done every year in the United States. Most conjoined twins never survive pregnancy, and only about 25 percent of those who are born will live.

ABC News reported back in September that there have only been about two dozen sets of conjoined twins in the world who were successfully separated. If the surgery goes well, Angelica and Angelina will overcome huge odds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

Man’s Severed Arm Kept Alive with His Leg Artery

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A Texas man is happy he can hold is grandchildren again after an experimental surgery to reconnect his severed arm, reports WFAA in Dallas.

In late August, Royce Reid, 49, was injured in an accident at work, which severed his left arm. It took hours to transfer him and his arm from a hospital in Longview, Texas, to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and on the trip, the Navy veteran nearly bled to death.

Dr. Bardia Amirlak, the University of Texas Southwestern plastic surgeon who was on call at the Parkland trauma center when Reid arrived, said that the long trip lowered the chances that Reid’s arm would be successfully reattached.

“When the muscles start to die, you cannot put the arm back on,” he told WFAA.

Although it had been seven hours since Reid’s arm was severed, Amirlak decided to try to give Reid his arm back. In an experimental procedure, Amirlak used blood from Reid’s own leg to restore oxygen to the amputated arm.

“We hooked a tube up to the artery in leg, and took it outside his body and transfused it directly into his arm to keep it alive,” Amirlak explained to WFAA. “We did that while we are working on his bones and the blood vessels to keep the muscle alive.”

Two months later, Reid is undergoing rehabilitation and is gradually regaining the use of his hand.

To reattach severed limbs, doctors perform microsurgery, a form of plastic surgery in which they reconnect bone, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. The delicate operation takes hours, and patients must go through months of rehabilitation to regain feeling and use of their limbs.

Dr. Ben Chang, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, said that’s because the nerves in the limb can’t simply be reconnected -- they must regrow.

“The nerves have to grow all the way out,” Chang said. “Nerves grow at about an inch per month. So if you cut off your arm at the forearm, it may take 10 months before the nerves grow all the way back down to the hand.”

According to a report in Wired magazine, the first successful human limb reattachment was in 1962, when Boston surgeons put a 12-year-old boy’s arm back on after it was severed when he was trying to hop a freight train. In the 1980s, surgeons started using microscopes to help them see the tiny structures they were trying to connect in severed limbs, a major advance in the field.

Dr. Chang said the surgical techniques used to reconnect severed limbs are similar to those used in the past decade for transplants of hands, faces, and other body parts. In October, a Massachusetts man became the latest patient to get a double hand transplant. In 2010, a Spanish man became the first person to have a full face transplant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct252011

Egyptian Baby with Two Mouths Receives Lifesaving Surgery in US

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Fifteen-month-old Rokaya Mohamed traveled from her home in Egypt to Los Angeles to receive a surgery that doctors had never performed until last Wednesday.

Rokaya was born with two full mouths -- both included an upper and lower jaw.  At birth, doctors told Rokaya's parents that their baby wouldn't survive.  But she proved them wrong when she continued to grow and get healthier on the liquid diet her parents fed her.

"The X-rays, the ultrasound didn't show us how her face is going to be," Rokaya's father, Tamer Mohamed, told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV through an interpreter.  "We are going to fight to change her life."

Dr. William Magee III, medical director of international programs in the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, heard of Rokaya's condition.  While he and his team have performed facial cleft surgeries on more than 100 children from more than 50 countries, he had never seen a child born with two full formed mouths.  It is perhaps the only known case of its kind.  Nevertheless, Magee III believed he could transform Rokaya's face and, in turn, save her life.

"We spent a lot of time planning the surgery, but we made some final decisions on how to go about it while in the operating room," said Magee III.  "The face is made of multiple pieces, so it's like pieces of a puzzle.  The cool thing is that we were able to use all those extra pieces in Rokaya's face."

While Rokaya will have to undergo many more surgeries in her life, Magee III said he is confident that the Egyptian team of doctors will be able to successfully take over Rokaya's medical needs.

"We're very well-experienced in terms of bringing in children around the world for these surgeries," said Magee III.  "We thought we could do an excellent job and get her home safely.  She's done quite well, better than we anticipated."

Rokaya was released from the intensive care unit (ICU) Monday.  She will likely be in the U.S. for another few weeks as she recovers from the surgery.

Nonprofits, including Mending Kids International, the Children of War, and Operation Smile -- an international medical charity committed to healing children's smiles -- helped Rokaya's family pay to travel to the U.S. and receive the surgery.  Operation Smile was founded by Magee's father, Dr. William Magee Jr. in 1982.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct202011

Steve Jobs Regretted Delaying Cancer Surgery 9 Months, Biographer Says

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Steve Jobs, the visionary Apple co-founder who died earlier this month at 56, admitted to biographer Walter Isaacson that for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his pancreatic cancer -- a decision he later regretted as his health declined.

In advance of the Monday release of his book, Steve Jobs: A Biography, Isaacson told the CBS News program 60 Minutes that Jobs said he initially felt the surgery would be too invasive.

"I've asked [Jobs why he didn't get an operation earlier] and he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened...I didn't want to be violated in that way,'" Isaacson says in an interview excerpt posted Thursday on the CBS News website.

How could Jobs have made such a decision?

"I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking...we talked about this a lot," Isaacson told CBS News. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it....I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Jobs, fascinated by Eastern mysticism in his youth, believed in alternative herbal treatments, and sources have told ABC News in the past that they thought he minimized the seriousness of his condition. One source close to Jobs said he kept his medical problems private, even from members of Apple's board of directors -- who finally had to persuade him his health was of critical importance to Apple's success and the value of its stock to shareholders.

Ramzi Amri, a researcher in surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, wrote a controversial piece last week about Jobs' aversion to mainstream medicine, and argued that Jobs may have hastened his own death.

"I respect the privacy of, and in no way wish to offend, anyone mourning his passing," he wrote. But Jobs had a rare neuroendocrine tumor that was far easier for Western medicine to treat than "ordinary" pancreatic cancer, said Amri. He instead sought alternative treatments.

"This was, of course, a freedom he had all the rights to take," said Amri, "but given the circumstances it seems sound to assume that Mr. Jobs' choice for alternative medicine could have led to an unnecessarily early death."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct142011

New Hands for Massachusetts Man

Bananastock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A 65-year-old Massachusetts man became the latest patient to receive a new pair of hands last week through a transplant operation, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said Friday.

The Boston Globe reports that Richard Mangino of Revere, Mass., underwent a 12-hour operation last week in which a transplant team gave him the forearms and hands of an anonymous donor. Mangino had his own lower arms amputated along with his lower legs when a blood infection threatened his life in 2002.

Mangino’s operation was the third successful double-hand transplant procedure in the country so far. Last year, Chris Pollock of Pennsylvania, who had lost both hands in a farming accident, appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to discuss the double-hand transplant he received at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The first double-hand transplant recipient was Jeff Kepner of Georgia, whose May 2009 surgery was also performed at UPMC.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital made headlines recently for face transplant surgeries performed there. In June, the hospital announced that it had succeeded in transplanting a face on 57-year-old Charla Nash, who had lost much of her face and both her hands when a chimpanzee attacked her. The doctors also attempted a double-hand transplant, but pneumonia and kidney failure following the surgery hampered circulation, and the transplanted hands had to be removed.

Last April, the hospital announced that it had performed a face transplant n on Mitch Hunter, 30, of Indiana, whose face had been disfigured in a 2001 accident. Surgeons there also gave 25-year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth, Texas, a new face. Wiens, a construction worker, had endured severe burns to his head years before when the boom lift he was operating drifted into a nearby power line.

The hospital has also performed a partial face transplant on a man who fell face first onto an electrified subway rail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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