Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Why Put Roy's Skull in His Stomach? By Brendan I. Koerner

Why Put Roy's Skull in His Stomach?

Indeed. interesting description of an uncommon, scary, but apparently effective procedure.
the skull cannot simply be placed in a bedside jar. Fragile bone marrow will wither and die unless preserved under optimal circumstances—either frozen, or kept close to a warm, circulating blood supply. Some doctors choose to freeze the skull bit because it requires one less incision. But others prefer to place the skull piece within a subcutaneous pouch that's implanted in the abdomen, between the muscle and the fat. This is an ideal location since there is ample storage space and little danger of interfering with essential body functions. Also, keeping the skull nestled within the body is a good way of keeping the bone sterile; the second you start toting vital body parts around, there's always the danger they might pick up airborne germs or, worse, be misplaced.


Despite the delicateness of the surgery, as well as the grave conditions of many patients selected for such procedures, success rates are fairly high. A 1998 study at the University of Heidelberg found a mean survival rate of 72.1 percent, and of the 43 patients studied, none of those who survived were left in comas.

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