Friday, September 26, 2008

Transplant Surgeon Saves Child with $2 Ping Pong Ball

Little Mackenzie Argaet from Australia was born with biliary atresia and underwent life-saving liver transplant earlier this year. But the transplanted liver was too big for her two year old body and was compressing vital blood vessels. Her surgeon, Dr. Albert Shun, was using a sponge to keep the vessels open but he couldn't close her up and he needed a solution and he needed it now! This quick thinking surgeon called his wife and said "Run to the store and get me a package of ping pong balls."

Using inovation and creativity, her surgeon placed a sterilized ping pong ball in her liver as a way to keep the liver off the arteries. The light, tough ping pong ball remains in place, doesn't deteriorate and the liver just grows around it without causing an infection.

What you see in the radiograph are the staples along the bottom, a nasogastric (or oxygen) tube in the middle and a round (think ping pong ball) in the right side with a drain tube coming from the area.

For $2, Dr. Shun solved a problem and saved a life. He has used the ping pong ball in other surgeries since this one was such a success. Amazing!


The Happy Hospitalist said...

That takes balls.
That's a really cool lookin' xray.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure naso gastric tube is for oxygen?

ERP said...

Balls to the wall! I love innovation....

My Prostate's in a Mason Jar by the Door said...

Hey, I'm OK with with the US Table Tennis team missing out on an Olympic gold medal, as long as the "Great American Ping Pong Ball Shortage of 2008" saved a kid's life!

Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho

Toni Brayer MD said...

To Anon: Don't try to "catch" me. I said nasogastric tube or oxygen tube. It is impossible to tell in the image but since it extends deep in to the abdomen it may just be oxygen.

To erp and Jerry Perisho: hahaha

To happy: always nice to have you visit.

Michael Leddy said...

That's quite a story, and it reminded me of this one, which I'm amazed to find is online:,9171,883910,00.html

(Found your blog via Anesthesioboist.)

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brayer:
The ping pong ball story made me cry. Am I emotionally labile?
Your Girlfriend

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