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For the first time, doctors have removed a patient's cancerous lung, cleared it of the tumor, and placed it back into the body. The procedure took place at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel.
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A life-threatening condition
Initially, doctors had planned to cut the patient's lung and wait for a lung transplant, a procedure that could prove very dangerous. Considering that the man was in his 40s and had a cancerous tumor that blocked the main airway in his left lung, a quick intervention was of the essence.
“If we were to have simply cut out the lung alone, awaiting a transplant, the patient’s condition would continue to be life-threatening,” Dr. Yuri Faischowitz, director of the Chiropractic Unit for Beilinson, told Ynet News.
So, the doctors decided to try a new process of removing the lung and cleaning it. The operation was a tricky one as the patient had to breathe through his right lung while the surgeons cut off the left lung. He had to continue breathing in this manner until the lung was cleansed from the tumor and re-inflated to check that it was still functioning.
"While we were inflating it, we saw that the upper lobe of the lung remained healthy," explained Faischowitz, "so we were able to transplant it back."
In good condition
After the lung was reattached, the patient began a rehabilitation procedure and is now said to be in a very good condition.
“The new method may change the way patients treat cancer in the world,” said Dan Arav, director of the Heart and Chest department in Beilinson, who performed the surgery alongside Dr. Faisschowitz, “Removing the diseased organ and removing the tumor, in some cases, is a development in scientific thinking. The idea has now been shown to be effective in lung cancer, and may later be applied to other organs and other forms of cancer.”
It is great, and at moments incomprehensible, to see medicine taking such great strides. We can't help but wonder what other medical marvels the future may hold.