Monday, May 14, 2012

Extra Parts

You may or may not find it fascinating, as I do, how the human body is made with parts that turn out to be sort of 'extra' or have other possible uses when a repair is needed.  The fact that we're born with some of our own spare parts makes me know that a lot more than chance was going on when human beings were designed.   

In two days my husband will finally have his abdominal reconstruction and he will be benefiting from some of those 'spare parts'.  One of the surgeons is a muscle specialist and she is going to release some of his oblique muscles from up under his ribcage where it turns out that they are not all that needed and those obliques will be used to reinforce his abdominal muscles.  This makes it so he can avoid having a large piece of synthetic mesh installed which would likely be felt too much for comfort and stand a good chance of irritation or infection.  Instead he will get a nice smooth bio mesh that is grown in the lab from pig cells.  Have I ever mentioned that my husband collected pig items as a kid???  Yeah, the irony is not lost on me!

I myself have had a little work done with an extra body part.  When I was a kid I had so many ear infections that I had 5 different sets of tubes put in my ears over the course of a few years.  The tubes turned out to be a total failure for me.  I was found to be losing my hearing as a result of the holes from the tubes never healing over as they naturally should have and my eardrums becoming hardened and unable to vibrate properly.  Because of this, I was one of the first kids to have an experimental ear drum surgery done when I was 8 years old.  It was first done in only one ear so the doctors could leave me with an option for later if it didn't work.  The process involved reusing an 'extra' membrane that is hidden inside the little flap that you press on when you use your fingers to plug your ears like this: 
That membrane is remarkably similar to the eardrum itself.  It can vibrate and remains flexible and can be grafted onto the eardrum for repair.  This was done for me with great success and I had the second one done when I was 14.  I can still remember how amazing it was to hear in 'stereo' for the first time! 

My husband and I are looking forward to results that are just as extraordinary for him! 

Had any amazing experiences with 'spare parts' yourself?!


  1. I wonder if this is why you had a vestibular problem when you went on that cruise....

  2. @ Robin- You are perceptive to think of that. I did ask about the possibility, but of course so little is known about MDDS that no one seemed to know anything about that. From what little I do know MDDS affects very few people from all the many, many who go on cruises and those affected are usually middle aged and 90% women and often those who suffer from migraine. I fit most of those risk factors, but I still think that having altered eardrums sure could be another one. There's probably not a large enough group of people who have had that surgery to be able to make a connection. In other words, one in a million twice over is likely to get me no answer!

  3. Jasmine: No spare parts, but I have been put back together a few times with artificial stuff. I'm getting smarter as I get older, so I hope not to be completely bionic in the future.

  4. I wish I made spare parts for my missing pieces. Taking thyroid medicine every day sucks. majorly.


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