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September 5, 2018

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Surgery brings boy’s appetite back

SHANGHAI Children’s Medical Center has transplanted part of a 11-year-old boy’s small intestine into his thorax to replace his damaged esophagus, the center announced Tuesday.

This is the center’s fourth operation of using the jejunum, the part of the small intestine between the duodenum and the ileum, to replace a child’s damaged esophagus.

The boy has now left the left the hospital and has resumed a normal diet.

The patient, nicknamed Dong Dong, drank some sulfuric acid stored in a soda bottle one year ago.

His esophagus was badly burned and fused together, leaving only a very small gap, barely enough to allow a toothpick to pass.

Dong Dong found it impossible to swallow any solid food and has been living on only milk and supplements ever since.

In the past year, his family took the patient to several hospitals and medical centers in various parts of the country seeking treatment but without any success.

Some inappropriate treatment even resulted in an esophageal perforation even landed poor Dong Dong in the ICU for a while.

The boy was malnourished and about 50 percent underweight.

In July, Dong Dong’s desperate family went to the center for help.

His attendant doctor Chen Qimin and the general surgery department decided that the best course of action would be to perform an auto-transplant and to replace the damaged parts of his esophagus with a piece of his small intestine.

After a 9-hour operation, an 11-centimeter piece of gut was moved to replace the scar tissue.

The blood vessels on the piece of jejunum have been connected to those in his chest.

Chen described the operation is a new way of treating the esophagus, although it has previously beem used to treat hypopharyngeal and esophagal cancers.

It is a very challenging and difficult procedure that requires the cooperation of several specialists.


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