Most Dramatic Surgeries and Procedures
6

Heartwarming Story
Two-year-old Adrian was born with his heart outside his chest. His father, Steven, had to make sure his son didn't take any blows to his chest or damage it in any way because it could have put his life at risk. "Both me and his mom take turns to make sure someone is always awake watching him," Steven said. "Because if Adrian were to turn on his side, he would easily roll over, which would have been bad for his heart."

More Amazing Procedures

Lai's Tumor
Revolutionary Cerebral Palsy Procedure
Natural Orifice Surgery
Corrective Eye Surgery


International Kids Fund

The International Kids Fund helped raise funds for Adrian and Lai's surgeries. Visit www.internationalkidsfund.org to find out how you can help a child in need.


The Doctors' cameras were inside the operating room for Adrian's life-or-death surgery. Adrian and Steven joined The Doctors after the amazing procedure to reveal how Adrian was doing.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears has an update on Adrian: "Adrian is doing well," Dr. Jim says. "He's back in Trinidad. He's doing all the things his friends do, especially playing soccer. He loves doing that."

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StomaphyX Procedure for Weight Loss
StomaphyX, a new non-invasive surgery, shrinks the stomach by snaking an instrument through a patient's mouth and down the throat to the stomach, then looping the stomach and pulling it tight, like a drawstring pouch. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Julie Ellner describes the procedure as "tightening the stomach like a corset."

Loretta tipped the scales at 263 pounds, underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost more than 100 pounds. The weight loss was only temporary, however, as she put more than 50 pounds back on. Dr. Ellner performed the StomaphyX surgery on Loretta to help her lose the newly gained weight.

Loretta joined The Doctors to show off her new body!

"With this StomaphyX procedure, she's kept that additional weight off that she gained after her initial gastric bypass," plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon updates. "It's worked really well for her."

Learn more about the procedure on Dr. Ordon's blog.

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No-Needle Vasectomy
Gentlemen, have you considered getting a vasectomy but the thought of needles poking at your genitals stops you dead in your tracks? Well, this isn't your father's vasectomy!

Urologist Dr. Aaron Spitz explains the no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy procedure: Instead of using a needle to numb the scrotum, an air jet device sprays anesthesia directly into the scrotum and vas deferens; instead of using a scalpel to pierce the scrotum, a small scissor tip pierces the skin and severes the vas deferens. "It's the Cadillac of vasectomies," Dr. Spitz said.

Steve and his girlfriend, Barbie, both have children of their own and didn't want to have any more. Dr. Spitz performed a no-needle vasectomy on Steve in the procedure room. Dr. Spitz instructed the couple not to have sex for a week. He added that they should not have unprotected sex for three months after the procedure and Steve should ejaculate 20 times, then have a checkup to make sure the procedure worked. 

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Toe-Shortening Surgery
Margarita, 29, had her toes shortened so that she could wear her favorite sky-high heels. The Doctors' cameras were inside the operating room to capture the controversial new surgery. Aesthetic foot surgeon Dr. Ali Sadrieh performed Margarita's operation and explains that he shortened and straightened her toes.

See the amazing results of Margarita's procedure. "I'm so happy!" she exclaimed. "I finally have cute toes!"

"We brought sexy back to her feet and the shoes that she's wearing now," Dr. Ordon updates. "She healed wonderfully. She's out there buying shoes and looking sexy."

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Ticking Time Bomb
Every year, nearly 100,000 people die from pulmonary embolisms -- blood clots in the lungs. Steve, 54, came close to being one of those fatalities.

Blood Clot Warning Signs

• Sudden shortness of breath

Leg swelling
Bloody cough
Chest pains that often mimic a heart attack

Preventing Blood Clots

Stand up and walk during long plane or car rides
Drink plenty of water
Wear support stockings

 


Though he had always been active, playing golf and skiing regularly, one day Steve had trouble breathing while simply walking up the stairs. "I thought I was having an asthma attack," he said. "I could not catch my breath. I felt like somebody was holding a towel over my face."

Even the most basic tasks, such as doing the laundry or dishes and cleaning the house, became difficult for Steve. His doctors determined Steve had a blood clot in his pulmonary artery, which carries blood from the heart to the lungs, and it had begun developing scar tissue. After undergoing several tests and procedures, Steve was told he would need surgery. 

"The mortality risk is tremendously high," said Dr. William Auger, a pulmonologist at University of California, San Diego. "In Steve's case, it was an 80 percent chance of dying within two years [without surgical intervention].

"The heart's just like a pump, and his pump was failing," Dr. Auger added. "He had fluid backed up into his stomach. Fluid backed up into tissues of his legs. He was really very limited in what he could do."

When blood clots develop, usually in the leg, it is known as deep-vein thrombosis. Typically, a clot travels from the leg to the lungs and blocks blood from entering other parts of the body, causing breathing trouble and fatigue. Over time, when left untreated, clots can travel into the heart and cause it to fail, resulting in death.


"It's like somebody has their thumb on the end of a hosepipe," Dr. Stuart Jamieson, cardiothoracic surgeon at UCSD, said. "What will happen are two things. Number one, the pipe might burst, and number two, there's no blood coming out the other side."

To save Steve's life, his doctors performed a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy, a potentially life-threatening surgery that cools the patient's body down enough so doctors can make the heart stop for 20 minutes and drain the patient's blood. This allows doctors to see and remove the clots. "If you can't get it done in that 20 minutes, that's really serious," Dr. Jamieson said.

"It's a very delicate operation," he continued. "Any margin for error and the patient will die."

A New Life
Just four weeks after the surgery, Steve joined The Doctors by running out of the audience onstage with his arms lifted high in triumph and said he no longer feels out of breath at all. "I think I walked three-quarters of a mile through Dallas airport the other day with a 50-pound bag and was looking for more!" Steve said. "It feels good, I'm telling you! "

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OAD 11/27/09

 

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