REMINDER: The #1 thing you can do to support the site is share the articles!
by Kyle James
Modern medicine is pretty damn awesome. Sure, doctors can’t fix everything that goes wrong with us, but at least we no longer live during a time when the only two solutions to medical issues seemed to be drinking mercury or simply sawing off the problem.
And while innovation has always been the key to the advancement of medical science, these procedures have us in absolute awe.
Building A Bypass Highway For Your Urine (Ureterosigmoidostomy)
Cancer is the absolute worst, and it has a natural tendency to ruin everything. The types, severity and effects vary wildly, but the one constant is that it’s stupid, and why can’t it go extinct instead of the beloved animals that actually contribute to nature while being adorable in the process? It makes no sense on any level ... except for maybe a scientific one. But we don’t care because screw cancer.
Bladder cancer, unsurprisingly, affects the bladder, and oftentimes also its ability to release urine from the body due to to blockage, or worse, the need to remove the bladder completely so the cancer doesn’t spread. Obviously, this is a problem, since urination is one of those basic things we need to do in order to function as healthy, living creatures.
Fortunately, medical science has found multiple ways to address the issue, and one of them is pretty ingenious.
Imagine your body contains, like, highways that your waste uses to travel en route toward its exit – one is designated for urine, the other for feces. Look, we know we’re oversimplifying here, but bear with us. So you have these dedicated paths specifically designed to carry things to their destination, but then that cancer jerk decides to showboat causing a massive pileup, and then there’s standstill traffic on the Pee Highway like it’s rush hour on the 405 in L.A.
This is … guys, come on. Just go already.
A procedure called a ureterosignoidostomy could be the answer. If your “Number Two” Highway is still flowing the way it should, doctors can basically reroute the traffic so that the “Number One” Highway goes the same way. Basically, they detach the ureters from the kidneys and connect them directly to the colon so that all of your waste exits from the same place.
It’s not for everyone, and of course does carry potential complications. However, for the right person, it eliminates the need to carry around and regularly change out a stoma bag, which can have its own set of issues, both medical and social. Still, it’s pretty cool that there’s an option out there for some people who suffer from this sort of thing that basically amounts to detouring around the problem.
Excessive Sweating Can Be Cured By Cutting Out Nerves (Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy)
Everyone sweats, but the amount can vary from person to person. Some of us remember being that kid in PE class trying to hide their massive pit stains, and others remember ... not being sweaty and self-conscious in the least, the lucky bastards. Either way, we’re all exposed to that variation in perspiration from a fairly young age.
However, some people really sweat. Like, a lot. These are the folks that pack a second shirt for work, run their hand across their pants before shaking a hand, and have extremely specific opinions on anti-perspirants. They’ve usually been aware of the problem for some time, and are quite annoyed with being told to buy better deodorants and to, just, get in better shape. Because sometimes, that’s not it at all -- it could be something called hyperhidrosis.
Or “‘This is Stupid Ridiculous’ Syndrome.”
It’s a condition where your sympathetic nerves do a terrible job at controlling how much you sweat. It has little, if anything, to do with you or your habits at all -- it’s basically your body betraying you in most social interactions for no reason whatsoever. There is a potential solution, however, but it may raise a few eyebrows.
It involves a surgeon going in and just cutting a nerve in the sympathetic chain that affects the problem area. And sure, it’s easy to think, “Wait, cutting nerves? That seems like a bad idea. Don’t I need those for basic things like feeling pain and being able to actually move?” Which, yes, you do. But luckily, these nerves are in a very precise location, so the surgeon can snip those without touching your “move and feel” wires.
Rearranging Your Guts So Your Pancreas Works Again (Whipple Procedure)
Cancer is the worst. Wait, did we say that already? We don’t care; it absolutely is, and we stand by that statement and will repeat it ad infinitum.
Pancreatic cancer has a nasty habit of growing in a very inconvenient place: Right on the head of the pancreas, blocking off the organ’s ability to secrete what it needs to, and preventing your liver from being able to dump its necessary payload into your intestine. Again, we see cancer blocking normally cool and necessary things, like the Doody McAssface of our time.
As you might have guessed given you’re more than halfway through this article, there’s a potential fix! It’s just ... well, it kind of looks like someone just cut everything apart and tried to put it back together without the manual. But in reality, it’s a smart way to reroute all those pesky, needy organs.
Called the Whipple procedure, it’s used to help make sure you can use your pancreas after it has a problem, so you avoid things like diabetes and the amputations and blindness that follow. You cut out the head of the pancreas, your gallbladder, bile duct, and a portion of the small intestine, and then just sort of piece them back together in a way that nature never intended.
So, you have a loose tube (small intestine), a hole where food comes out (stomach), and the tail of the pancreas (makes insulin but isn’t really built to push it anywhere). Then you tie the pancreas to the end of the tube and connect the stomach a bit further up. This way you still get insulin and digestive enzymes pumped in with your food and, ideally, get rid of the cancer.
That might not sound pretty, but for the right person, it totally works.
If You Lose Your Knee, It Can Be Replaced With Your Ankle (Van Nes Rotation)
The worst has happened, and we won’t speculate as to what, since we’ve been doing enough of that already. But it’s bad news: Your leg cannot be saved, because of some scenario we don’t want to think about -- but, amputation is the only option. You’re understandably in shock, wondering what life will be like, until you realize that they make those rad blade legs and ... OK, it’s still pretty horrifying.
So the knee and everything below has to go. But then, they tell you that you don’t have to go through life without all the running and jumping you were accustomed to. You can pretty much have a normal, functioning leg, thanks to prosthetics, albeit with a rather unconventional solution: They’re going to salvage your ankle and foot, spin it backwards, then reattach it to the upper half of your leg.
Generally called rotationplasty, this specific version is called a Van Nes Rotation. If you have a bone tumor or some sort of trauma in the knee that can’t be repaired by other means, and it absolutely has to go, doctors can actually, in some cases, save that ankle and reverse it to serve as a knee joint. Then a prosthetic limb connects to it and it’s pretty much a fully-functioning leg.
Hell, one girl, after having this done, continues on as a ballerina. Cancer be damned -- she’s not letting anything get in the way of being a total badass at what she does.
Damn. We’ll never be that hardcore. And plus one for modern medicine.
Want to write for The Modern Rogue? You can! Just sign up for our writers’ workshop.