Breast Implant Saves the Life of Man with Severe Lung Damage
A doctor performed a bizarre surgery using breast implants to save the life of a 34-year-old man with a problem of badly infected lungs with a drug-resistant strain of bacteria that couldn't be swapped for a fresh set in a single move.
Davey Bauer, 34 years old, started smoking cigarettes when he was 21. But he turned towards vaping in 2014 as he believed it was a better alternative. Bauer was apparently in good health and enjoyed physical activities like snowboarding and skateboarding. He also performed a landscaping job in De Soto, Missouri, located about 45 miles south of St. Louis. But in April, he started having dyspnea (shortness of breath), and eventually, he caught the flu. Bauer developed a lung infection that was resistant to antibiotics after catching the flu. Because when people smoke or vape, it can leave lung tissue inflamed, making the organ more susceptible to infection. As his health began to worsen, he was admitted to a St. Louis hospital for treatment.
According to Rade Tomic, a pulmonologist and the medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Canning Thoracic Institute Lung Transplant Program, Davey’s lungs were so badly infected that they started to liquefy. His X-ray showed that there was nothing left; the lungs were completely filled with pus. When they received a call from Davey's medical team in St. Louis, they thought they could help him, but it was also very clear he wouldn't survive the transplant in his current condition. He was required to clear the infection before we could list him for a transplant, but the only way to do that was to remove both lungs. This was uncharted territory for us, but their team knew that if they couldn't help Davey, no one else could.
Smoking or vaping can result in inflammation of lung tissue, increasing the vulnerability of the organ to infections.
The damage to his lungs became so severe that doctors put him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which pumped and oxygenated Bauer’s blood from outside his body. The main purpose of this is to give a patient’s lungs and heart a chance to rest so they can heal, but it wasn’t enough in this case.
Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the Canning Thoracic Institute, said surgeons created an artificial lung to help keep blood flowing while his real lungs were removed. But the major difficulty was to prevent his heart from collapsing inside his chest. That’s where the ‘double D’ breast implants came into play.
Fortunately, Davey was young and, as a landscaper, skateboard enthusiast, and golfer, was otherwise fit and healthy. He was also very fortunate that a day after his old lungs were removed on May 26, the team was offered a donor pair. The implants stayed in place for two days until the new lungs were transplanted. On May 28, Davey had his temporary breast implants removed and a healthy new set of lungs put in their place.
After several months of recovery and rehabilitation therapy, life is looking a lot brighter for Davey, who is a double lung transplant recipient. The medical team gifted a t-shirt with his new nickname ‘DD Davey’ to Bauer and his girlfriend as the first-ever recipients of a most unique lifesaving procedure.
(Input from various media sources)