Doc­tors per­form in­no­va­tive skull-scalp trans­plant in US

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U.S. doc­tors hailed a com­plex op­er­a­tion as a world first af­ter per­form­ing a skull and scalp trans­plant on a can­cer pa­tient who also re­ceived a new kid­ney and pan­creas dur­ing the pro­ce­dure.

James Boy­sen, a 55-year-old soft­ware de­vel­oper, un­der­went 15 hours of surgery per­formed with the help of more than 50 med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, the MD An­der­son Can­cer Cen­ter in Hous­ton said Thurs­day.

It said that the his­toric surgery made Boy­sen the “first pa­tient to re­ceive the si­mul­ta­ne­ous cran­io­fa­cial tis­sue trans­plant to­gether with solid or­gan trans­plants.”

The op­er­a­tion, per­formed at Hous­ton Methodist Hos­pi­tal, was con­cep­tu­al­ized al­most four years ago, but wasn’t car­ried out un­til May 22, some 20 hours af­ter doc­tors were told ap­pro­pri­ate or­gans had be­come avail­able.

“This was a very com­plex surgery be­cause we had to trans­plant the tis­sues uti­liz­ing mi­cro­surgery,” said Michael Kle­buc, lead sur­geon from the Hous­ton Methodist Hos­pi­tal plas­tic surgery team that helped per­form the skull-scalp trans­plant.

“Imag­ine con­nect­ing blood ves­sels 1/16 of an inch un­der a mi­cro­scope with tiny stitches about half the di­am­e­ter of a hu­man hair be­ing done with tools that one would use to make a fine Swiss watch,” he said.

Boy­sen, a res­i­dent of Austin, was di­ag­nosed with leiomyosar­coma, a rare can­cer that at­tacks smooth mus­cle, on his scalp in 2006.

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