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!
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:12 PM