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Behind the scene of a surgery marathon to remove a 90 kg tumor

Posted Jan 06 2012 12:26pm
Commentary: Doctors from different countries can communicate through a common language, which is medicine. Dr. McKay McKinnon, charity organizations and community donate their time, expertise and money to bring hope to the unfortunate.

A Vietnamese man is recovering in the intensive care unit Friday, a day after surgery that completely removed from his right leg a , according to the hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

OR2 Behind the scene of a surgery marathon to remove a 90 kg tumor
Dr. McKay McKinnon (C), a renowned American plastic surgeon, leads the operation to remove a 90-kilogram tumor from Nguyen Duy Hai on Jan 5.


OR1 Behind the scene of a surgery marathon to remove a 90 kg tumor

Medicine and Surgical techniques are way of communication among doctors of different ethnicity

The growing tumor had rendered the patient, Nguyen Duy Hai, .

, according to the hospital, a bit less than the 200 pounds (90 kilos) estimated before surgery.

Hai, 31, of Da Lat City, has , said Dr. Jean-Marcel Guillon, chief executive officer of FV Hospital, where .

The autosomal dominant hereditary disorder is the same disease that contributed to the extraordinarily large head of Joseph Merrick, whose story was dramatized in the 1980 film, “The Elephant Man,” explained Guillon.

The tumor “may return,” Guillon wrote in an e-mail to CNN, “but we can operate him again, and it won’t never reach such a size anymore.”

Doctors expect that Hai’s . After that, Hai faces and possible help from the hospital’s to deal with issues pertaining to body image, Guillon said. “This patient lived all his life with this tumor. It was part of him.”

Hai also needs to learn how to do things that his body had forgotten, including using the leg he had never used normally, Guillon added.

The tumor was first discovered when Hai was four years old and had grown to its enormous size since then.

Hai had undergone a surgery to amputate his leg and with it the tumor in 1997, but in 2001, the tumor grew, and no doctors agreed to operate on him, according to the hospital.

Furthermore, his family could not afford surgery, and very few surgeons in Vietnam can treat neurofibromas, Guillon said.

The surgery was considered risky with a 50% success rate for a number of reasons, Guillon explained. “First, such . Therefore, one of the main risks was abundant bleeding.”

Doctors used a “cell saver,” which , along with extra blood for the surgery.

The second and third risks lay in heart function (“How would a heart react when a tumor with twice the weight of a patient is removed?”) and the effects of a long more than 13 hours anesthesia, Guillon said.

Leading the surgical team was Dr. McKay McKinnon, a specialist in plastic and reconstructive surgery from Chicago.

McKinnon has been credited with removing a 200-pound tumor from a woman in the U.S. state of Michigan in 2000, as well as a 176-pound (80 kilo) tumor from a Romanian woman in 2004.

Aside from McKinnon, no one else on the team had any prior experience with Hai’s condition or performed such a surgery before, Guillon said. “Though the surgical techniques used by Dr. McKinnon are usual and routinely used by our surgeons, the difference lays in his experience: he knows what to expect and what to do at specific crucial moments.”

Finally, the team of Vietnamese surgeons and anesthetists had never worked with McKinnon before, and , Guillon said, adding that .”

Nonetheless, among all in the operating theatre went “extremely well,” Guillon said.

During the surgery, FV Hospital set up a live video feed for other doctors and hospitals to watch.

Video during the surgery showed five people assisting in the disposal of the excised tumor from its own gurney into a yellow container, which was then sealed.

A small piece has been sent for examination; the rest will be incinerated as with all biological waste, Guillon said.

The cost of the surgery was estimated at $20,000, but which will be .

The hospital said .

Via CNN: Vietnam surgery removes tumor twice man’s weight

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