Vietnam does first nose re-attatchment, multi-organ transplant

By Nam Son, Thanh Nien News

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Doctors at Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi sew a nose part back onto a patient using a microscope. Photo courtesy of the hospital
Vietnamese doctors have for the first time successfully reattached a severed nose to a patient and performed a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant.

Doctor Nguyen Hong Ha, head of the facial and plastic surgery department of Hanoi's leading surgery hospital Viet Duc, which received the nose case, said the patient was a 37-year-old man from the central province of Ha Tinh who lost most of his nose in an unidentified accident.

He was rushed immediately to a provincial hospital for first aid. Doctors there asked the family to come back home to pick up the nose, and it was frozen in a styrofoam box to be sent over with the patient to Viet Duc.

Surgeon Dao Van Giang from the department -- who directly performed the microsurgery -- said the operation took 13 hours through the night. It was one of only some ten successful cases worldwide.

Giang said the process was extremely difficult as the blood veins in the area are tiny, around 0.4-0.5 milimeters in diameter.

The veins had contracted after being cut, and doctors had to use several parts of veins from the patient’s thigh -- , of 8 milimeters each -- to reconnect them. The veins were sealed back using tiny thread under a microscope.

The cut started to heal on Sunday while the reattached part recovered and looked ruddy. It could have been left ulcerated if a small sewing mistake blocked the blood flow.

Giang said the nose has not only functional but also cosmetic importance and losing the shape of it would make patients feel insecure. So his team had asked to perform the reattachment surgery although the patient was admitted late, around 12 hours after the accident.

Doctors said the nose has a complicated structure and there’s no effective solution to fix it other than reattaching the cut part.

They said that any severed part of the body needs to be well protected for possible reattachment. They should be bandaged and sealed in a clean plastic bag, then in another water bag and then an ice box at maximum 10 degrees Celsius.

Putting the cut parts in direct contact with ice can damage them further with cold burns.

Vietnam Military Medical University meanwhile announced Monday it had performed the country’s first successful transplant of multiple organs on one patient.

Doctor Nguyen Tien Binh, director of the university, said a 43-year-old soldier from the northern province of Son La received a kidney and a pancreas from a brain-dead person.

The patient has been suffering diabetes type 1 and kidney decline for ten years and had to be hospitalized regularly as his blood sugar was out of control.

Binh said the 13-hour transplant was performed Saturday by 150 doctors and staff members.

The patient has recovered and his wounds are healing.

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