March 10, 2009

Girl has six organs removed in surgery

A 7-year-old girl New York girl is doing well after having six of her organs removed in an effort to remove a cancerous tumor, doctors said.

She was scheduled to be released from the hospital Tuesday, a month after having undergone the risky, yet apparently successful, procedure.

The surgery, believed to be the first in a child and the second in the world, involved the removal and partial re-implantation of six organs. The 23-hour procedure, which began Feb. 6, was lead by Dr. Tomoaki Kato at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

Kato and a team of seven surgeons and eight clinicians removed nearly every major organ in Heath McNamara's abdominal cavity, including the small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, spleen and stomach. A tennis ball-sized tumor was removed. The hospital said the abdominal tumor would have otherwise been inoperable because it was tangled around vital organs and essential blood vessels.

Doctors were unable to save McNamara's stomach, pancreas and spleen. The girl now has a pouch fashioned from intestinal tissue to hold food, USA Today reported.

Kato performed a similar operation on a 62-year-old Florida woman last year. He told the newspaper the woman is doing well.