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Bloodless Surgery

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the walk-it-off dept.

226

isaacbowman writes "Dr. Charles Bridges, a Pennsylvania Hospital cardiologist, says says regarding new bloodless surgery options - "Among the benefits are reductions in recovery time, hospital stay, cost and complications -- as well as an estimated $20,000 in savings per patient." Advances in medicine have made this possible and Dr. Bridges also says, "There's no downside to it that we can see, and there's certainly no downside that's been documented." Dr. Patricia Ford, director of Pennsylvania Hospital's Center for Bloodless Medicine & Surgery, further states, why blood transfusions are dangerous, saying that they are "like getting a transplant; they can be risky and should be a last resort.""

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I'll bet (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209331)

$20,000 in savings per patient

That dull roar you just heard outside was the US's entire population of medical residents placing a revolver in their mouth and pulling the trigger.

Re:I'll bet (4, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209370)

That dull roar you just heard outside was the US's entire population of medical residents placing a revolver in their mouth and pulling the trigger.


And there goes the $20,000 savings per patient...

Re:I'll bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209373)

That dull roar you just heard outside was the US's entire population of medical residents placing a revolver in their mouth and pulling the trigger.

Huh?

Re:I'll bet (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209408)

Hardly... The savings is realized in two ways.
1. Less risk so the doctors insurance cost are less (SOME of this savings will be passed on to you)
2. Quicker recovery time so your hospital room stay will be shorter. This only means quicker turn around time so they can push for more surgeries.

Re:I'll bet (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209425)

Hi. Welcome to corpoatism. None of the savings will be passed on to you, or to the doctor. The CEO of the malpractice insurance corp will get a bigger bonus.

Re:I'll bet (2, Insightful)

modecx (130548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209677)

I agree with #2, but #1? If there is any universal truth, it's that insurance bills never go down!

Re:I'll bet (1)

Feyr (449684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209685)

tell that to my insurance company, my bill keeps going down!

Re:I'll bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209930)

Woops, looks like you mistook a singularity for an insurance company!

They've obviously compensated in some way (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209565)

and keep the medics' earnings up otherwise they will not have said there is no downside.

How do they get a 20k saving per patient? They must be selective in what they're quoting because most surgical procedures cost way less than 20k.

Re:They've obviously compensated in some way (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209577)

i am willing to bet they are only looking at the types of surgical procedures that demand a blood transfusion

Re:They've obviously compensated in some way (2, Insightful)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209702)

Odds are good the '20k in savings' is either an average savings (and hence including the ever-expensive organ transplants and other risky surgeries) or else it's a cumulative savings from the following:

  • Red Cross doesn't have to expend as much effort into attracting donors with gimmicks like t-shirts and other contests when that money could be put into more useful 'core' purposes.
  • Less transportation issues and cooling needed for fewer amounts of blood to circulate, which also means a lack of emissions, vehicle repairs/maintenance, and all-important gasoline to worry about.
  • Less chance of a blood shortage forcing doctors to use 'riskier' procedures on their patients, leading to less complications.
  • Already mentioned in the article, but those shorter hospital visits and fewer complications really DO add up, as most people who've ever been in for surgery will tell you the complications are often worse (and costlier) than the surgery itself.
  • Time in the operating room can be VERY expensive for hospitals! Easier surgery means less time in the Operating Room, which translates into immediate savings.

The compensation is in keeping up repeat business and being able to brag about the new revolutionary procedure that will attract new business. A doctor you have a pleasant experience with is a doctor you keep going to, every time.

In my own experience, I've had supernumerary teeth removed by a specialist, went back a year later to the same guy to have some crowding issues resolved, and I'll be getting my wisdom teeth taken out this summer by the same guy. If I didn't like the guy on at least some level, he wouldn't be seeing this kind of repeat business, even if it is only three procedures across eight years.

For a minute... (-1, Offtopic)

leenks (906881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209337)

...I thought that said Transylvania - I was getting worried for Dracula!

Driving force for bloodless surgery (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209341)

We can thank Jehovah's witnesses for that. They are a driving force for bloodless surgery.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209361)

I'm not sure why that is. Seems like it would be Lawyers driving it.

-Peter

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209397)

lawyers would want more blood cause more blood = higher chance of malpractice suits which = more money for the lawyer.

then the flip side where the lawyer would be defending the doctor and getting a ton of money for it.

Anything to keep them in court because a woman didn't get the right brests put in or some fatass didn't get enough fat sucked out of their ass.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (5, Informative)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209505)

Speaking as someone who has family members who are Jehovah's Witnesses, they really are the driving force for bloodless surgery.

Jehovah's Witness have a theological objection to blood transfusions [watchtower.org] , but unlike Christian Scientists, not to medical treatment in general. In fact, they are quite insistent on high quality healthcare [watchtower.org] .

As such, they advocate [watchtower.org] the use of blood transfer alternatives.

There are various groups of Witnesses that advocate changing the doctrine [ajwrb.org] , but, however odd it may seem to the rest of us, it's one of core teachings of the church and has survived even when other once-rejected medical technologies (organ transplants, certain immunizations) have now been accepted.

This doctrine has caused the Witnesses to push the medical community to come up with many alternatives to transfusion. These alternatives include Erythropoietin Therapy [nejm.org] , Hemopure, a bovine-hemoglobin based blood substitute [anesthesiologyinfo.com] (this was quite a surprise, as previously even animal blood was considered taboo), perfluorocarbon based blood substitutes [watchtower.org] (back when I was young, I knew Witnesses who had been guinea pigs for this stuff), and a host of others [adam.com] . There are also specific surgical guidelines [unipi.it] published in dealing with Witnesses.

All in all, the Witnesses are one of the main driving forces for research into lessening the need for blood transfusions. There are others to be sure (type matching, blood shortages, infectious diseases carried by tainted blood, etc.), but nothing beats having a large pool of otherwise healthy patients who are highly motivated to be test subjects.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (4, Insightful)

Isldeur (125133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209617)

Jehovah's Witness have a theological objection to blood transfusions, but unlike Christian Scientists, not to medical treatment in general. In fact, they are quite insistent on high quality healthcare.

I work in one of the US' big children's hospitals in the neonatal ICU. Right now I'm watching a one month old 34 week gestation boy with a transposition of the great arteries slowly die because of these objections along with a bunch of treatment knots. This belief is utter nonsense. And if you don't believe me, come and watch this life of this little guy slowly ebb away as he struggles and struggles. You look into his eyes and tell me giving him blood will damn him.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209654)

I say let him die. There is a good chance he'd grow up to be one of them anyway.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (4, Insightful)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209711)

I completely agree with you, and sympathize with the anger and frustration you must feel. While much of my immediate family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I am not. Because of this fact, they have not spoken to me for 14 years.

I'm not overly fond of many of teachings of the church, but I'm also cognizant that most every religion has its nutty aspects. JWs also tend to be very nice and honest people, and live lives of moderation that tend to reduce their need for medical assistance, all of which are also a requirements of the church. It's a very mixed bag.

Unfortunately, rationally looking at your own religion is not a strength that many possess.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209844)

While much of my immediate family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I am not. Because of this fact, they have not spoken to me for 14 years.

... and this is a problem how?

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (0, Flamebait)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210103)

>>> ... and this is a problem how?

1) Your family
2) Won't speak to you

Get it? Geez, and I thought you godless scum are the pinnacle of evolution. Here is one specimen who is even dumber than a monkey.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209959)

With all due respect, you're very fortunate that your whacked out, nutty, paranoid, uncompassionate, hard-hearted family refuse to speak to you. A fear-soaked, paranoid mind, always guarding oneself against falling over the precipice and into eternal damnation at the hands of some vulgar, hateful, vengeful, ignorant god...that's a living hell...

You obviously have an intelligent, free thinking mind...that's heaven on earth.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209815)

Um.

Main Entry: bloodless
[. . .]
4 : lacking in human feeling

It's a Lawyer joke. You might need a humor transfusion.

-Peter

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209416)

Jehovah's Witnesses are nothing but fanatical child abusers.
They use bullying, intimidation, threat of gossip and other
control techniques to keep and maintain kids under control

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Flamebait)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209484)

Mod me down all you like, I won't even post anonymously. But for having being raised as a JW, I can see why anyone would say that. They arbor child abusers in their rank and prefer to discipline them by themselves rather than going to the authority. But by those standards, catholics are a bunch of choir boys too. (we know it aint true, but some people like to generalize)

I stepped out of there 10 years ago, and although they are wrong on many things about raising childs (I left college to knock on doors 100 hours per months cause it was what a JW did. The end of the world was coming anyway, who need an education?) they aren't serial child abusers, and most childs are more than happy to take a walk on saturday mornings. What they do with their child is not worse than many parents do by pushing their childs in beauty pageant.

And yes the parent poster is partially right. I've seen bloodless operation performed on open heart patient 10 years ago. Although I don't think we need to thank them for being pionner in the field. A lot of JW died because of that silly beliefs. Blood is sacred, apparently more than life itself.

Before modding the parents as flamebait: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209598)

I know this is off topic, but when seeing the parent posts being modded down, I had to try to put their reactions into perspective. They have come out of a belief where you are taught that God is going to destroy the world. Contact with outsiders is strongly discouraged outside of business/preaching to them. And if you leave the religion, contact with all members, friends inside is forbidden. It is extremely strict.

Perhaps this small list of the many, many support and recovery groups out there will give people who are actually interested an idea.

http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/default.ashx [jehovahs-witness.com]
http://www.jehovahswitnessonline.com/ [jehovahswi...online.com]
http://www.network54.com/Forum/128637/ [network54.com]
http://www.kent.steinhaug.no/forum/index.php?s=6d1 142efa3cead5e738c1a9774d22f47 [steinhaug.no]
http://b26.ezboard.com/bexjehovahswitnessforum [ezboard.com]
http://www.towerwatch.com/phpBB// [towerwatch.com]
http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanXJW/ [yahoo.com] .. and this is really just a start.

Not my intention to start a flame war, but this IS important to put into perspective. There are thousands of people who suffer in silence. I'm an ex-victim myself.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (2, Interesting)

JadeAuto (935739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209793)

That all depends on your faith. You see, some people have such faith in their beliefs that they are willing to die for them, by abstaining from any kind of blood. Many people have a problem with this. But remember, Jehovah's Witnesses are simply messengers. They aren't trying to promote any kind of violence or bloodshed. And refering to the comment about how JW's harbor child abusers, consider this: Nobody is perfect. There will always be people who make mistakes, who do wrong things, and who choose to do acts of injustice. You'll find that in every group of people, whether it be a religious group or a national group. Depending on your faith, that may or may not change soon. My faith is solid, that's for sure.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (0)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209852)

See? I write that JW _ARE NOT_ child abusers, and a JW try to make me understand that they aren't child abusers.

This is the exact reason why I left the JW. Because most of them aren't listening, they are preparing their next brainless argument based on what they have been told to answer to objections.

And BTW, some people are ready to give their lives for their religions by bombing themselves. It doesn't make it right.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209881)

Yes, but would your faith cause you to ostracise friends/family who left your religion? "It might be possible to have almost no contact at all with the relative"
http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/1988/4/15/arti cle_01.htm [watchtower.org]

An environment is also encouraged where people are discouraged to go to legal sources for aid, this is one example: Especially start two paragraphs before the "What Can Elders Do?" (Elders are like, congregation heads) section and read to the end of the next section.

"If the accusation is denied, the elders should explain to the accuser that nothing more can be done in a judicial way. And the congregation will continue to view the one accused as an innocent person. The Bible says that there must be two or three witnesses before judicial action can be taken."

http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/1995/11/1a/art icle_01.htm [watchtower.org]

If you haven't been a JW and left the religion, you can't understand the pain people go through. There are thousands of people on support groups on the internet for a reason! It is not a typical religion.
And yes, I'm sorry, I suppose Slashdot IS the wrong place to post about such things! :)

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209554)

As one of Jehovah's Witnesses who has twice faced a serious blood-loss I can tell you how happy I am to see advances like this. Actually as a Witnesses, we give a lot of credit to courageous doctors who took on difficult cases without having the option of transfusing. The issue is actually surprisingly broad -- involving things like informed consent and various patient rights concerns. In regards to blood being a vector for pathogens, this is certainly well known, but our stand is purely religous based (based on the Biblical mandate expressed in Acts 15:29 and elsewhere). In my own case I was so glad to have avoided a transfusion in Canada during the early 80s, just before the AIDs-tainted blood supply issue became known. Canada was behind other countries, such as the US in implementing AIDS/HIV testing to routine blood screening. Ironically, even though I know live in the US, I had an accident while on vacation in Canada in 2001 which required emergency surgery. I can tell you that while I did fine, many hospitals in Canada simply can not afford some the equipment mentioned in the artical.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209607)

Hey, do you think that between clutching to stone-age beliefs and handing out your crappy magazines to people, you could learn to spell ARTICLE properly? I mean, ARE-TEE-KAL sounds retarded, even for a religious person.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209745)

Dude, lay off. His comment was well thought out and there is no reason anyone needs to jump on anyone for little spelling mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as you get the point accross, what does it really matter?

I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses as well, and I think it is very sad that his comment was modded as "funny." It was a serious comment and brought some good points to the table.

The Belief in not accepting blood transfusions is not in any way a "stone age" belief. It very much applies to our lives today as it is found in the Bible and we have sound reason for believing what the Bible says (when was the last time you saw someone be able to profesy the NAME of a person who would lead an army to conquer a nation 200 years in adavance? That is just one of the many reasons we can believe in the Bible).

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209788)

Hey, do you think that between clutching to stone-age beliefs

Another example of typical ignorant prejudice. They're not stone-age beliefs, they're bronze-age beliefs.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209877)

Thanks -- I'm still waiting for the slashdot grammar/spell checker. Of course there is also the "know" vs "now" and other mistakes I now see :( -- such life in cyberspace. Btw - Please keep in mind there is a person at the end of these posts -- calling people "retarded" is a bit harsh. Although I don't expect everyone to appreciate why we hand out our magazines, the truth is we see that too as part of a Biblical mandate (Matt 28:19, 20) to preach.

Imagine now you're a doctor and you believe what you said above, that this nonsense about taking blood is stone-aged rhetoric published in crappy magazines. Would you nonetheless, find it within yourself to respect our stand and treat us accordingly? That's my point -- kudos to the medical professionals who since the mid-40s and 50s did.

Re:Driving force for bloodless surgery (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210127)

The Jehovahs Witnesses are a cult, countless people have died as a result of their foolish blood policy. While there may be some risks with blood transfusions there may not always be the equipment needed for bloodless surgery if you are in an accident. They banned their followers from vaccines and organ transplants many years ago then changed their mind a few decades later. The only reason they maintin their dangerous blood policy is because if they changed their mind their organization The Watchtower and Bible Tract Society would be sued out of existence by the relatives of the people they have murdered. They also sue websites that host evidence that exposes their ever changing doctrines and abuse of their followers.

Here are some sites about what the JWs really get up to:
http://www.silentlambs.org/ [silentlambs.org]
http://www.reexamine.org/index.php/Main_Page [reexamine.org]
http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/ [jehovahs-witness.com]

The sad part... (1, Interesting)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209359)

The sad part is that this procedure works only on Vulcans [wikipedia.org] .

For those who don't yet have a heart condition... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209387)

If you do not yet suffer from any degenerative brain disorder or heart condition, or you do not otherwise require surgery, you may enjoy this article [technewsworld.com] where the IDC claims there is $90 billion in installed software and "only" $59 billion has been paid for, yet the industry is losing $33 billion to this activity. I hope this makes you sick!

MSNBC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209398)

Tomorrow we'll tell you why Intelligent Design should replace Darwin in our schools. The bible is good for you.

Then on Friday, watch our special feature... Why are American's getting more stupid than the rest of the world?

Re:MSNBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209703)

Well, we know YOU'RE spectacularly stupid for using an apostrophe to make a plural.

Re:MSNBC (0, Redundant)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209864)

He managed to get 'schools' right; the improper punctuation was probably on purpose. SPELLING METANAZI'd

Bloodless Surgery? (1)

Chrismith (911614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209429)

Maybe I'm behind the times here, bu what, precisely, is bloodless surgery? I read TFA and I still don't know. How do you cut open someone's chest to fix a heart valve without there being blood?

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209435)

How do you cut open someone's chest to fix a heart valve without there being blood?

Vampires.

KFG

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209511)

Well, either that or morticians.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209655)

At least with vampires you don't have that whole smelling of formaldehyde thing going. Plus you have a perfectly legitimate excuse not to go out into the Big Blue Room.

Of course you've got that whole Damned For All Eternity (tm) thing going, but optimum solutions are always about finding the right engineering compromise.

And ya know, there's something really kinda creepy about typing this while watching the opening of Van Helsing on Encore, 'cause, like, I've read the reviews first.

KFG

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209724)

Yes ... personally I thought Van Helsing was a pretty decent movie. If you're into that kind of film (I most certainly am) I think you'll enjoy it. Besides, Kate Beckinsale is most impressive. The final battle is one of the best choreographed CGI fight scenes I've ever seen in the theater.

Vampires (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209907)

No, that's how you count.

The question was how do you do bloodless surgery!

I don't know how people can claim to know anything without a good grounding in Sesame Street.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

santouras (791199) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209478)

by using things like cell salvaging, where any lost blood is essentially 'vaccummed', cleaned and returned to the body, cutting tools that seal blood vessels as they cut, special tissue glue that they put on your cuts to stop bleeding. They also dilute your blood so that if anything is lost, its mostly liquid, and before an operation they will give you drugs to boost your red blood cell production. Pretty much every procedure these days can be done without blood, safer, quicker and cheaper.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (5, Informative)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209492)

From TFA:
  • The patients have the iron content in their blood enhanced in order to better cope with the procedure (same as in a blood donation).
  • During the surgery, various non-bleedy and less bleedy techniques (such as cauterizing as you cut, and freezing the tissue to stop blood flow) to reduce the amount of blood you lose in the first place.
  • They recover what DOES get spilled and recycle it so you use your own blood during the procedure instead of having to donate in advance.

The artices does go ahead and admit that the more complex a procedure, the less likely this is possible: so a full-on heart transplant is far less likely to be bloodless than, say, an appendectomy or a stomach reduction (or other similar surgeries that don't require large incisions).

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (0)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209904)

I'm no doctor, but something tells me that if you have a bloodless heart transplant, you'll have about three minutes more to live. For anything else, it seems like a great idea.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (2, Informative)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209695)

Yeah that got me for a while too... by bloodless it more means blood-transfusion-less; there is obviously blood involved, but only the patients own.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

WCD_Thor (966193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209853)

You don't open the chest, you go in through a vien in the leg and slid the new valve up. I think this was mentioned on slashdot, if not it was in wired online.

Re:Bloodless Surgery? (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209875)

You control where the lost blood goes, and feed it back into their body. It's a matter of attaching suction devices to the points where you cut across major blood supplies, and being very meticulous. Probably requires some special skills.

Of course it requires a lot more fiddling about than just simply cutting straight in and fixing the problem, so it's going to require a lot more time to do the operation, thus it would be preferable to surgeons if they can just rip into you, and then leave the nurses to put blood back into you when they are done.

Interesting tech (1)

porkmusket (954006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209439)

TFA mentions "using high-tech scalpels that clot the blood as they cut tissue," but there is no elaboration. Does anyone know how these work or have a link to more information? Sounds like a cool invention and I'd like to read more.

Re:Interesting tech (1)

slazar (527381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209471)

Maybe they are scalpels with friken lasers attached to their heads. Or hot scalpels, cauterizing as they cut.

Re:Interesting tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209597)

"clot the blood as they cut tissue"

Must be light sabers!

Re:Interesting tech (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209604)

If you had Googled [justfuckinggoogleit.com] , you would have hit this: Bloodless Surgery [pennhealth.com]

Re:Interesting tech (3, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209754)

Basically the scalpel consists of a handle, an on/off switch aka. an Activation Matrix, a blade arc tip and a stabilizing ring. By directing energy through crystals stored in the handle of the scalpel an arc wave energy field is formed as the blade. This extremely powerful "light" scalpel cauterizes wounds as it cuts. However it must be noted that to use this tool a surgeon must be well endowed in the "force"

It's called a Bovie - electrocautery 50 years old (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209821)

Pretty much ALL surgeons use it a lot! Originally invented in the 1940s? by a Neurosurgeon, it uses high frequency electric arc to cut, or cauterize tissue to a patient who has been grounded.

"Harmonic" Scalpels (1)

BigDukeSix (832501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209918)

It's called the "harmonic" scalpel [harmonicscalpel.com] . It uses ultrasonic frequency mechanical energy to denature the hydrogen bonds that hold proteins together, while generating enough heat to seal blood vessels. You can seal medium-sized arteries with one of these (unlike electrocautery). They're very cool and now quite common, but 5-10x more expensive than electrocautery.

6

Amazing (1)

YourM0m (968051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209444)

This is absolutely amazing. This will help prevent the spread of diseases from blood tranfusions too.

Transfusion != Transplant (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209446)

As a surgical resident I found most of the article pretty good, but the last line that a blood transfusion was the same as a transplant much have been taken out of context. I have take care of nearly 100 transplant patients during my residnecy and they are by far the most labor intensive petients in the hospital. They are chronically immune suppressed, often on the verge of liver and/or kidne failure, and generally coming in erey year or so with rejection issues.
On the other hand I have taken care of hundreds of patients who have had blood transfusions. While not harmless, a blood transfusion has a miniscule risk of infection (from potential pathogens we are not aware of or cannot test for) or reaction. Only two of my patients have had transfusion reactions which requires stopping the transfusion, some medication, and maybe two extra hospital days. These patients did not need long term immune supression or chronic doses of borderline toxic medications as a result of the transfusion.

Just my little nit pick with the article.

---sam

thinking too literally (4, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209528)

You are thinking too deeply, their point was simply whenever possible one should avoid inserting things into the body that are foriegn, either other peoples blood or even your own blood that has been stored.

It also avoids potential problems like this [bbc.co.uk] . (synopsis: Red Cross Canada pleads guilty to killing over 3,000 people due to distributing tainted blood; 1000 contracted HIV, 20,000 hep-c). The less foreign substances you put in your body, the better, besides the fact that stored blood isn't nearly as effective as your own natural blood at carrying oxygen.

Re:thinking too literally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209635)

"besides the fact that stored blood isn't nearly as effective as your own natural blood at carrying oxygen."

However it is orders of magnitude better than no blood at all.

Re:Transfusion != Transplant (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209530)

I agree, but this is mostly due to the fact that the transfused blood cells quickly die off and are discarded by the body, replaced by the host's own blood cells. The implanted organs are supposed to survive for years, and thus are a constant source of irritation to the body's immune system.

Re:Transfusion != Transplant (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209537)

I did my internship at Pennsylvania Hospital. The bloodless program is great. I think Pat Ford's quote is a little much, but, on the other hand, blood transfusions are more than just an issue of a little transfusion reaction. There are a number of other antigens on the cells (besides those for "blood type" with which can people react. The trouble is, this can raise the risk of transfusion reactions later on in life, if the need arises for another transfusion. Folks who need transfusions chronically for some reason or another can get to the point where you have to test for all kinds of antigens, then wait 3 days for that one unit of blood to come from Louisiana. In general, you definitely want to limit the number of times that you get transfused, so that when/if you really need the blood, you won't have a problem. All you need is to have some horrible motor vehicle accident, get 10 units of blood, then get a hemolytic reaction on top of your other problems.

BTW: Jehovah's Witnesses vary in terms of their religious beliefs around transfusion. For some, some components of blood can be transfused, but not others, whereas other patients are more stringent.

Re:Transfusion != Transplant (4, Insightful)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209600)

The official position of the church is that you cannot use any of the major blood fractions (red or white blood cells, plasma or platelets), but the use of certain blood fractions (animal hemoglobin, interferon, interleukin, etc.) is left up to personal conscience.

A handy chart for the various blood related things JWs may or may not use can be found here [adam.com] .

Re:Transfusion != Transplant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209550)

Not to be nip picky myself, but with your poor spelling, I hope you don't write out MY prescription! :P

Re:Transfusion != Transplant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209689)

How did you make it through college and med school with those English skills?

Old technology (2, Insightful)

dorpus (636554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209465)

"Keyhole surgery" generated some fanfare a few years ago, but the reality is that it is more dangerous than open surgery, requiring greater skill. How the hell do you operate on something you can't see, digging around under flesh?

Re:Old technology (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209514)

How the hell do you operate on something you can't see, digging around under flesh?

It's easy. Say "marco" and the diseased part will answer "polo", guiding you to your destination.

Or maybe use ultrasound or a floroscope. The marco polo thing is way funner.

Re:Old technology (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209582)

you can see. Them little fibre optic camera gizzmos have been around for at least 30 years.

Re:Old technology (1)

dorpus (636554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209643)

Heh, a stereotyped techie response. A little camera's limited view will not let the surgeon see everything, despite his macho confidence.

Old, but modified and state of the art tech (4, Informative)

spineboy (22918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209856)

In many (not all) cases "keyhole" surgery (laparoscopic - in the belly, or Arthroscopic - in a joint), actually allows a BETTER view than the traditional open procedure.
Every joint procedure (knee or shoulder 'scope) allows the surgeon a better view than the open method,'cause the camera is so small, it can get into many places, that you normally can't even see. Gallbladder surgery now is overnight or same day, as compared to a one to two week stay for the open method.

And yes, I am a surgeon , and I have done both open and closed shoulder repairs, and the 'scope method is waaaaay better. You can see more anatomy, more pathology, less blood loss, and less tissue damage. Trust me, we all need to sleep at night, and want what's best for the patient.

Don't get too exited. (5, Informative)

Maradine (194191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209468)

I can guarantee you, the only party involved in the process who will see that twenty grand is the insurance industry.

M

Re:Don't get too exited. (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209578)

Well actually, no one will 'see' the twenty grand. It's like buying a TV that's $1,000 off the normal price. No one actually gets that money.

Of course, you're just making the slashbot karmawhore comment that's been approved for this thread. I just figured since it was the fifth time I saw it I'd reply.

stalone predicts the future... again (3, Funny)

TheMadWeaz (949464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209477)

after bloodless surgery comes fluidless sex [wikipedia.org] .

Patricia Ford behind this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209690)

Can I get Patricia Ford [wikipedia.org] to operate on me?

Please???

Bloodbank tech says: YEEEHAH!!!!! (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209486)

"Among the benefits are reductions in recovery time, hospital stay, cost and complications -- as well as an estimated $20,000 in savings per patient."

Not to mention stretching the blood supply for the patients this doesn't help ... a 27-unit obstetrical disaster, or a gut-shot cop.

Re:Bloodbank tech says: YEEEHAH!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209644)

And here is another way to stretch the blood supply Automated Blood Collection [stanford.edu] .

So next time instead of giving whole blood, check out apheresis, and see your donation go to help more people, more often.

Re:Bloodbank tech says: YEEEHAH!!!!! (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209820)

And here is another way to stretch the blood supply Automated Blood Collection [stanford.edu] . So next time instead of giving whole blood, check out apheresis, and see your donation go to help more people, more often.

Boosting the parent visibility - this is a good idea.

$20,000 per patient! - more like $500 per unit (3, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209797)

At least that's what most hospitals charge to the patient for predonated blood.
.
That $20,000 sounds like it's been pulled out of someone's exagerated butt - maybe for a very, very, very bloody heart transplant. Probably >90% of operations don't require a blood transfusion.

I'm an orthopaedic surgeon, and for those of you who don't know, most orthopaedic surgeries tend to resemble Aztec ceremonies. But anyway, my last 20 knee and hip replacements haven't required a transfusion. Most patients who do need a transfusion - i.e. bloody messes scraped off the pavement after being ejected from their car wreck, only need about 2-4 units.

Would it be cool if we found a safe, effective blood substitute? - yes. But today the risks from transfusion are approximately 1 in 350,000 of being exposed (not catching) hepatitus, and 1 in 2,000,000 exposure to the HIV. In other words, don't worry about it, your risk of being hit by lightning is about the same.

JW article on Bloodless Surgery (5, Interesting)

TheTiminator (559801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209509)

If you really want to investigate why bloodless surgery is gaining ground in the medical industry then take a look at this article published by Jehovah's Witnesses. And before you turn up your nose because of the source of the article, you should really give it a read. The JW's have had a major impact on how the medical industry views this topic and many advances have been made because of them. Here's the article: http://www.watchtower.org/library/hb/index.htm?art icle=article_06.htm [watchtower.org]

Re:JW article on Bloodless Surgery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209680)

Sorry, I no longer trust anything the Watch Tower Society says.

I once conducted through research into some of the lesser known current and past teachings of Watch Tower and Jehovah's Witnesses (like their former ban on transplants, ban on vacinations, Pyramidology, claim to have a cure for skin cancer, beleif that "Christians" do not have a relationship with Christ (only their special 144,000 remnant are so privleged), joining the United Nations after telling their members the UN is Satanic, letting Pedophiles get away with their crime, etc etc.)

No, I'm not making any of this up, and I haven't been "lied to by The Opposers and Aposates". I had detailed research directly from Watch Tower books and magazines. I published my results on the internet.

Result: they sued me and claimed copyright infringement (so much for the biblical admonition to not hide your light under a basket!). They said my research was not research, but rather could only have one purpose: to "embarras the plaintiffs [Watch Tower]. You can read about the (now settled) suit anywhere, try http://romancatholicblog.typepad.com/roman_catholi c_blog/2005/10/jehovahs_witnes.html [typepad.com]

In summary: Please leave medicine the the Medical Scientists that practice Evidence Based Science and Research, and leave "The Sky Is Falling" claims to Chicken Little and Jehovah's Witnesses.

BTW, Much of what JWs have published about the "state of the art" of bloodless surgery is taking experts grossly out of context. You can read examples of this here: http://www.jwinfo.8m.com/misquotes.htm [8m.com] .

~Q

P.S. I suppose you could argue that the Mormons have some excellent research into how Native Americans are really the Lost Tribe of Israel, or that Scientology has published some fascinating infromation about how we are all messed up with Thetans and Engrams, or the Institute for Creation Research has plenty of proof that the earth is only 6000 years old, but I am hightly skeptical of those sources too.

P.P.S. I'm only posting as Anonymous Coward because even after all these years lurking on /., I've never created an account. But if you follow the story link above, it contains my name, and city. So I'm not very anonymous, and also not a coward. :)

Re:JW article on Bloodless Surgery (4, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209866)

Speaking from personal experience, my mother-in-law ruptured her spleen and didn't go to the doctor for 2-4 weeks. (She didn't know when she ruptured it.) She bled internally for this entire time, eventually ending up unconscious in the Emergency Room from blood loss, where they decided it needed to be removed. My in-laws are extremely devout Jehovah's Witnesses, and refused any sort of transfusion. The doctor told my father-in-law "Your wife will die without a transfusion. She's lost too much blood." They opted for blodless surgery anyways.

Keep in mind that I do not personally subscribe to these beliefs, but this is what I, as an outsider, observed: (Anecdotal, yes, but it's all I have to go on.) They called in their best surgeon. The surgery took much longer than a "normal" splenectomy. The surgeon took extra time and went slow. All the internal sutures had to be extra clean to avoid blood loss. Even the external sutures were done with great care. They were so careful with blood loss that she lost less than half a pint of blood through the whole procedure. (Almost all of that half-pint was in the spleen, or so the surgeon said.) My mother-in-law survived the surgery. (although it was pretty dicey for about 24 hours - the hospital told the family to make sure her "affairs were in order.") She recovered in record time. No complications. Even the scar was less visible than a typical surgery scar.

So regardless of religious views, it seems to me that if you request a bloodless surgery, you get better medical care. Rather than trying to chop you up and sew you back together as quickly as possible to free up the operating room for the next job, everyone involved seems to slow down and take things easy. You become that pain in the ass exception that they need to take extra special care of. Rather than run you through the mill, they have to take you off the assembly line, look at your special needs. I still doubt that I personally would opt for a bloodless surgery, but it really gave me pause to think about the whole idea.

Cool stuff (4, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209525)

I think it's brilliant that they're starting to use suctioned blood to resupply the patient. This is, more or less, perfectly good blood. It may need to be mixed with some anticoagulants, but otherwise it's got to be better than transfused blood. It's fresh and still plenty capable of carrying a full load of oxygen.

I'm planning on applying to med school in the next couple of years with the goal of going into surgery, so seeing an article like this on Slashdot is nice. The advancements in medicine over just the last decade have been incredible and I see no end to it. I'm looking forward to how much more it will advance by the time I'm in residency.

Re:Cool stuff (1)

Randseed (132501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210067)

This is called a Cell Saver, and it's been used for years and years.

Nothing new here. Move on.

JW's must be happy with this one (0, Troll)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209575)

An image of 144,000 Jehovah Witnesses leaping for joy.

*lol*

Re:JW's must be happy with this one (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209664)

This is all very inside-baseball, but considering that all but a maximum of 8,524 [watchtower.org] of the 144,000 are supposedly dead, and those are all well into their 80s, I don't think much jumping is going on... :)

For those of you who are curious, Witnesses split themselves into two groups - a ruling class of 144,000 that will die and rule with Christ in heaven, and the rest, who will live forever in perfect bodies on Earth. The generally accepted cutoff date for getting into the ruling class was 1935, although they have left themselves some wiggle room for "replacement candidates" if one of the pre-1935ers renounced the faith before they died. In the chart linked above, "Memorial Partakers Worldwide" is code for members of the ruling class that are still alive. During their one and only yearly holiday (the Memorial of the Last Supper - a sort of JW eucharist), members of the ruling class partake in the unleavened bread and wine, while everyone else just passes the stuff around. It's also generally accepted that a large number of the partakers are self-deluded (being a member of the ruling class is not centrally organized - you are supposed to find out yourself via the Holy Spirit), so the exact number is a little fuzzy. The reported number for each congregation is the best guess of the local elders - they figure out who partook, and subtract out the obvious nutters.

Re:JW's must be happy with this one (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209673)

Argh! Only 8,524 are still alive. Most of the 144,000 (if you believe such things) are dead (but alive in heaven).

Re:JW's must be happy with this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209816)

So your long winded, endoctrinal answer to the original poster was reduntantly stupid? There must be a lot of jumping around as he said. Better be carefull, they will make the sky fall!

Re:JW's must be happy with this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209667)

ummm.... there are more than 6 million Jehovah's witnesses in the world

Re:JW's must be happy with this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209792)

Wait. Are you saying that people in wheelchairs can't get into Heaven? You sick, sick bastard.

Isn't that just surgery (3, Funny)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209619)

on a lawyer?

Re:Isn't that just surgery (1)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210070)

I believe the shark coalition objects to that.

Works for Me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209640)

Well, I don't know if this specific technique was used on me, but I've already had "bloodless" surgery.

I had a bowel resection where they literally scooped my intestines out of my body cavity and laid them on the table beside me. After cutting out the bad bits and stitching the good ones back together, they tucked it all back in. While they were in there they took out my appendix and sewed up a fistula to my large intestine.

This left me with a scar from above my navel down to my pubic bone, but no transfusion was required. In fact, I asked before surgery if I should self-donate blood so I could avoid the dangers of a transfusion from someone else and they told me they didn't expect to need any blood.

Still amazes me.

Stop it with the stupid fucking typo tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209774)

Nobody cares. Reading Slashdot doesn't make you the stereotypical geek with no life - looking for every typo so you can tag it for the rest of the world and feel good about alerting them to it, however, does.

Oblig. Star Trek reference (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209836)

Glad to see the doctors are finally putting away their butcher knives! :P

Not just for religion (2, Interesting)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209912)

Okay, yes, good on Jehovah's Witnesses for reinforcing the desire for these types of procedures, but stop and think that this might not just be a religious issue. Theres a whole 7% of the population out there who, like me, are type O negative. And while we may be wonderful/magical/mythical creatures capable of donating our blood to anyone other human being on the planet (especially handy during time-critical emergencies), we are unfortunately incapable of accepting red blood transfusions from anyone BUT an O- donor.

So this is also good news to some of us who may be concerned with limited supplies of compatible blood in an a system already struggling to meet demand. Hooray.

Re:Not just for religion (1)

isaacbowman (968235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210048)

I agree, the simple fact remains "There's no downside to it that we can see, and there's certainly no downside that's been documented - from MSNBC". So why shouldn't people be excited. Why would anyone want to bleed and lose needless blood? The real question is why are blood transfusions so popular if there are better options? The Red Cross makes enormous amounts of money for managing the nation's supply. Figure it out. Everyone donates blood, mostly for free, and then the blood gets sold in hospitals for huge costs. In 2004 one hospital [brookshospital.org] was paying $249 for each pint. "The cost to the nation for these transfusions is approximately $4 billion annually [2001]" from America's Blood Centers [americasblood.org] . Why take a medical option that has even a small chance of complications when there is something cheaper and safer? Doctor says I can have bloodless op that costs less and I can go home one day early? aaaah I'll take that option.

This is sooooo old news (1)

lowededwookie (844199) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209932)

Many hospitals in Europe have been performing mostly bloodless surgeries since late 80's early 90's. The fact that America is only just realising the benefits is pathetic. Yes Jehovah's Witnesses have been the major players with regards developing this but the medical benefits noted in this article have been known for decades. In most cases bloodloss can be replaced with volume expanders such as saline but for more complex operations there are a number of techniques including laser scapels which quarterise the wound when cuttin thus preventing bloodloss. There is also blood recycling where blood is pumped from the body and put through a machine to be cleaned then pumped back into the body thus reducing bloodloss. Doctors that insist on blood transfusions should be avoided because they are not keeping up with the latest procesdures and are probably not careful.
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