On Tuesday, December 20th, Santiago Horgan, MD, chief of minimally invasive surgery at UC San Diego Health System was the first surgeon in the United States to remove a diseased gallbladder through a patient's belly button with the aid of a new FDA-approved da Vinci Si Surgical System. With one incision, Horgan removed the gallbladder in 60 minutes. The patient returned home five hours after the groundbreaking surgery and reported minimal pain. "Our goal is to offer surgery options that reduce discomfort, shorten hospital stays and minimize scarring, " said Horgan, a robotic surgery expert and director of the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery. "With the aid of this robotic system, we can accomplish all three. This is a significant advancement for the 750, 000 patients who need gallbladder removal each year.
When Sherry Wittenberg was diagnosed with a rare cancer in the cricoid cartilage of her larynx, doctors told her the only way to treat the condition was to remove her voice box. The operation would leave her unable to speak normally and would require her to breathe through a hole in her neck for the rest of her life. Wittenberg sought a second opinion at the University of Michigan Health System, where Douglas Chepeha, M.D., M.S.P.H., offered her an alternative the option of undergoing a new procedure that, if successful, would allow her to keep her voice. The technique, detailed online ahead of print publication in The Laryngoscope, reconstructs a ring of cartilage in a patient's neck called the cricoid with a slice from the tip of one shoulder blade. "The biggest challenge is that doctors have never been able to rebuild a cricoid cartilage so that the patient can breathe through it, " says Chepeha, director of microvascular surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, at the U-M Medical School.
A breast cancer survivor's breast implant was swallowed up by her own body during a Pilates session, resulting in surgical intervention to retrieve it and place it back into the breast, according to an article by doctors at Johns Hopkins' University and published in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine). The 59-year-old female had undergone a double mastectomy, followed by breast implants. The woman had recently undergone heart surgery - minimally invasive surgical mitral-valve repair for the treatment of severe mitral regurgitation - which had weakened her ribs, the article added. During the Pilates stretching exercise, the woman said she experienced no shortness of breath or pain. During a Valsalva maneuver - when the person breaths out but blocks the exit of air deliberately - an area of her right anterior chest ballooned out.
The most poisonous substance on Earth - already used medically in small doses to treat certain nerve disorders and facial wrinkles - could be re-engineered for an expanded role in helping millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, psoriasis and other diseases, scientists are reporting. Their study appears in ACS' journal Biochemistry. Edwin Chapman and colleagues explain that toxins, or poisons, produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, cause of a rare but severe form of food poisoning, are the most powerful toxins known to science. Doctors can inject small doses, however, to block the release of the neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another. The toxins break down a protein in nerve cells that mediates the release of neurotransmitters, disrupting nerve signals that cause pain, muscle spasms and other symptoms in certain diseases.
In news that sounds more like something from an automotive, or white goods recall, French authorities have announced that a certain type of silicone breast implant can rupture and might cause cancer. The French authorities are in the process of deciding whether to issue a "recall" and recommend up to 30, 000 French women have their implants changed or removed. Meanwhile in the UK, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised that there is not enough evidence to warrant removal. Dr Susanne Ludgate, the medical director at the MHRA, explained that they have looked at the issue extensively, including the toxicity of the filler. She stated that they have looked at any association with cancer and can find no link, and they have also looked at safety issues of women breast feeding with the implants.