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May 19, 2006
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A woman in Columbia University's hospital had her gallbladder removed in March not by traditional abdominal surgery but by running instruments through her vagina, according to an April New York Times report. Doctors said that abdominal-muscle cuts are painful and slow to heal, and that surgeons are considering using the body's other natural openings, also, for some procedures. (In a landmark 2004 operation, doctors in India removed a patient's appendix through the mouth.) Still, a female New York University surgeon said the idea of gallbladder surgery through the vagina is "repulsive." [New York Times, 4-20-07]
In May, doctors at Schneider Children's Hospital in New York, operating on a 3-year-old girl, removed a brain tumor that had made her one of only a tiny number of people in the world to suffer from a syndrome that caused her to laugh uncontrollably when experiencing a seizure. Her mother described the girl's facial expression before the corrective surgery as similar to that of the Batman character the Joker. [Tampa Tribune-AP, 5-4-07]