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Ping-Pong Ball Saves Transplant Patient

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Surgeon saves young transplant patient’s life using a ping-pong ball…

Dr. Albert Shun, from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Australia, used a radical method to save a young girls’s life, after being confronted with a problem during a liver transplant operation.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Mackenzie Argae was born with a rare gastrointestinal disorder known as biliary atresia – a rare condition in young infants that blocks the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine.

Biliary atresia can lead to liver faliure, meaning that young Mackenzie needed the life saving operation to survive.

After implanting a portion of an adult sized liver in young girl, Dr. Shun discovered that it was too big, placing pressure on her blood vessels, a situation that could have been fatal.

Forced to act immediately, Dr Shun remembered how ping-pong balls had been used in operations overseas. He then decided to test their suitability for liver transplant surgery.

“I was using a sponge as a back-up purpose but there was no way I could close her up the way it was,”

“She is the first (transplant patient) in the world that the ping-pongs have been used for these purposes.”

The ping-pong ball helps keep Mackenzie’s new liver from placing pressure on her arteries. Since her operation, Dr. Shun and his team have performed the procedure on several other patients.

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