Northwestern Surgeons Pioneer Double Lung Transplant Assisted by Breast Implants
In a groundbreaking medical feat, surgeons at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago achieved a medical first by utilizing breast implants and an artificial lung in a double lung transplant to save the life of a young man, now affectionately nicknamed “Double D” Davey.
The Unprecedented Surgery
Davey Bauer, a 34-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, faced a dire situation after suffering from a double lung infection exacerbated by vaping and smoking. Following complications from the flu,
Bauer’s lungs were severely damaged, leading doctors to determine that a double lung transplant was the only option for his survival. However, due to his deteriorating condition, traditional transplantation was deemed too risky.
In a medical breakthrough, Northwestern surgeons removed Bauer’s infected lungs and engineered an artificial lung to maintain blood flow to his heart. To prevent his heart from collapsing within the chest cavity after the removal of both lungs, the surgical team decided to use large breast implants.
The Role of Breast Implants
The choice of double ‘D’ breast implants was not only innovative but crucial in providing the necessary support for Bauer’s heart. Dr. Ankit Bharat, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, explained that the implants served as a temporary measure to keep the heart centered, enabling Bauer to survive while awaiting a suitable donor match for the double lung transplant.
Successful Outcome and Future Implications
The unprecedented surgery took place in May, and within 24 hours of being listed for a double-lung transplant, a matching donor was found. Following the removal of the infected lungs and breast implants, Bauer underwent the transplantation procedure.
The success of this pioneering approach not only saved Bauer’s life but opens up possibilities for similarly ill patients who might be too sick for immediate conventional lung transplants.
Reflecting on the Recovery
Bauer’s recovery journey involved several months in the intensive care unit, followed by rehabilitation therapy in late September. Expressing his gratitude for the second chance at life, Bauer noted feeling great and progressively returning to his normal self. The medical team will continue monitoring his recovery for a year.
A Medical Milestone for Northwestern
This historic procedure marks the first time Northwestern Medicine has employed both an artificial lung and breast implants to facilitate a life-saving double lung transplant. Dr. Bharat highlighted the significance of the innovative approach, emphasizing its potential to aid patients who, like Bauer, are too unwell for immediate traditional transplant procedures.
Northwestern’s groundbreaking achievement not only offers hope for patients in similar situations but also showcases the capacity of medical innovation to push the boundaries of life-saving interventions.