Information about the hospital system and about getting medical treatment in Germany.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Successfull transplantation of two arms

Plastic surgeons at a major hospital in Munich, Germany, have presented a patient to the public who had successfully recieved two complete arm tranplants (taken from a deceased donor) more than two months ago and who has been able to overcome repulsion of the new limbs since then.

The patient, who had lost both arms right below the shoulders due to an accident, had recieved the limbs in a highly complex plastic and neurosurgical operation, and over the ensuing months had been administered decreasing doses of immune-supppressive medication. He was also able accept the implanted limbs as his own, which is an important psychological prerequisite for the success of the treatment.

The most important development however still is to come: While the young man claims that he is feeling some tingling in the new arms, there is still no feeling or possibility to control in the implants. The tingling sensation shows however, according to the physicians, that the nerves have started to grow from the shoulders into the strange tissue. It is expected that it will take another one or two years until the patient will regain some feeling in the fingertips and even the possibility to move his hands.

It was the first time worldwide, that a transplantation of two complete arms has been tried and doctors are very satisfied with the outcome so far. Both the surgical and the immune-therapeutical problems have been mastered very well, and even the psychological assistance has successfull.

This new development in medicine shows the high standard of medical service that is available in Germany. While such sensational transplantations are still far from available on a routine basis, medical development does of course make novel treatments possible - also to international patients. Patient referral organisations like German Hospital Service will be happy to assist.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

University Clinic Magdeburg introduces World Innovation for Cancer Therapy

In January 2008, a medical team at the Magdeburg University clinic was the first worldwide to introduce an open, high energy MRI for micro-therapeutic oncological treatment techniques. The new MRI, which does away with the classic „MRI-tunnel“, gives the doctors free access to the patient, enabling picture-controlled interventions to bring micro-invasive instruments right into the tumors, providing excellent picture quality without x-ray exposition for the patient.

Modern cancer therapies are often very hard on the patients – physically and psychologically. Extensive surgery weakens the body and leads to long periods of recuperation. The new therapeutic approach, with micro-invasive instruments, is usually possible under local anaesthesia only, while these instruments bring the treatment into the centre of the cancerous tissue. Right there, from “within”, the tumor can be subjected to radiation or microwave heat, targeting the cancer tissue only but leaving the healthy surrounding organs untouched.

Hitherto, ultrasound or CT were used to guide such interventions. But according to the doctors at Magdeburg, the new MRI is far superior: This technique is specialized on making soft tissue visible, while X-ray based pictures are more or less confined to bones and similar calcium-containing structures. And the open design of the new machine enables the doctor to apply his instruments directly and under full control of high quality online pictures.

For the Magdeburg clinic, this is a „milestone in micro-invasive oncology”.

The city of Magdeburg is in the immediate vicinity of German Hospital Service, who will be happy to assist international patients if they wish to apply for this new treatment option.

Monday, 31 March 2008

German hospital pioneers intra-womb surgery

The university hospital Bonn saved the life of a baby by applying an innovative technique for antenatal surgery in womb.

When her mother's foetal membrane burst in the 20th week of pregnancy, there was immediate danger that the baby Miriam would die, as his liquid cushion is usually absolutely essential for survival of the foetus.

Without the fluid, the organs pressed on the lung and the baby's development would have been fatally impaired. She was also unprotected against germs in the womb, leaving her susceptible to life-threatening infection.

Most babies are aborted after a rupture at such an early stage, but Miriam's parents jumped at the chance after the hospital offered them what is normally high-risk pre-natal surgery.

'But here we were dealing with a healthy child and it was a question of significantly increasing its chances of survival,' said Professor Thomas Kohl, the head of the German Centre of Foetal Surgery and Minimally Invasive Therapy at Bonn University Clinic.

Surgeons inserted the operating device, which is the size of a ballpoint pen, into the foetal membranes through a small opening in the stomach of Miriam's mother Lori.

Assisted by a camera and ultrasonic apparatus, they carefully moved this 'foetoscope' via the mouth and into the trachea of the unborn baby.

There a miniature latex balloon was inflated, blocking the respiratory channel so that the fluid which is continuously produced by the prenatal lung cannot drain away. This build-up of the fluid stimulated the growth of Miriam's lung.

Miriam's case was the first in which Professor Kohl also used the protein serum albumin, which increases the amount of water collected in the lung and increases the effect of the balloon.

'Our little patient's lungs rose like yeast cake. The balloon stayed in the lungs for five days and during this period the volume of the lungs nearly doubled,' said Professor Kohl.

Miriam was born in the 33rd week of the pregnancy and is now a healthy one-year-old.

The operation that saved her life was to be reported in the scientific journal Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy.

This AFP-Report is brought to you by German Hospital Service to describe the high level of expertise that can be found in german hospitals.