Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Extreme cancer surgery involves temporarily removing digestive organs

Wow, the case of an extreme cancer surgery is currently being reported on the news. The operation removed (only temporarily) several organs and then the organs had to be sutured back in place. The removal was needed to get access to the cancer in the posterior wall of the patient's abdominal cavity. The article stated that the operation was like taking the engine out of a car in order to repair the car while it is still running.
It took seven surgeons more than 15 hours, in which they removed her stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver and large and small intestines, while keeping Zepp (the patient) alive. Once they cut out the tumor, which was wrapped around a major artery, they painstakingly put all the organs back in her body. - ABC NEWS Online
The removal of the tumor was complicated by its location in the abdomen. Reportedly, the small tumor was wrapped around the aorta and the base of the celiac trunk and superior mesenteric artery. Some portions of her blood vessels had to be replaced with artificial vascular grafts made of Gore-Tex (BIO 26 students saw these in lab).

The surgery took advantage of techniques used in organ transplant operations... including cooling and preserving of the patient's digestive organs after removal from the body. The patient was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a somewhat rare form of cancer of the intestines. It reportedly arises from cells in or around the muscularis mucosa. Check out eMedicine for more information on this form of caner (link to eMedicine).


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