November 27, 2015

11,950 gallstones.

Found in one woman.

It took 50 minutes to remove them and 4 hours to count them.

11 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Whatever she was eating needs to be banned from the human food chain.

Michael K said...

Gallbladder "gravel" is pretty common and causes more frequent symptoms than larger stones. I don;t know why anyone would count them. Times to waste maybe.

Laslo Spatula said...

I read the news today oh boy
Twelve thousand gallstones in one woman
And though the stones were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many stones it takes to fill the Human Gall.

I am Laslo.

virgil xenophon said...

My Father had gallstones in the 50s and those attacks were SOME intense. When they finally operated (and surgical techniques were FAR more invasive than today, the incision was almost eight in long) turns out one of the gallstones was the size of a large Robins egg--try attempting to pass that stone! Dad kept it for years in a glass pill bottle as a souvenir, lol.

Michael K said...

"the size of a large Robins egg--try attempting to pass that stone!"

The bigger the stone, the less frequent the symptoms. Many are never noticed until autopsy.

Try passing a bladder stone that size ! Samuel Pepys had a bladder stone the size of a tennis ball. It was removed by an incision between his anus and scrotum, the standard approach until modern times. No anesthesia. He kept it in a glass and celebrated its removal anniversary every year.

Sam had his stone removed by Thomas Hollier of St. Thomas's and Bart's on March 26, 1658. He celebrated his survival of the surgery and the relief from pain every year on this date. Claire Tomalin's biography, 'Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self,' gives a well-researched description of this surgery, its risks, the preparations, the surgery itself, and the follow-up care. Here is the gory heart of her account, but read her book for the all the preparations--the foods and herb, the fast-binding done in place of an anesthetic--and the follow-up care--a really amazing passage in the book:

"The surgeon got to work. First he inserted a thin silver instrument, the itinerarium, through the penis into the bladder to help position the stone. Then he made the incision, about three inches long and a finger's breadth from the line running between scrotum and anus, and into the neck of the bladder, or just below it. The patient's face was sponged as the incision was made. The stone was sought, found and grasped with pincers; the more speedily it could be got out the better. Once out, the wound was not stitched--it was thought best to let it drain and cicatrize itself--but simply washed and covered with a dressing, or even kept open at first with a small roll of soft cloth known as a tent, dipped in egg white. A plaster of egg yolk, rose vinegar and anointing oils was then applied."


Modern surgery isn't so bad.

campy said...

Wow, the patriarchy must have really had it in for her.

#WarOnWomen

Char Char Binks said...

That takes some gall!

MB said...

Why would they waste their time counting them? Likely some job dumped on a medical student as a form of hazing.

MB said...

Michael K said...

Bladder stone is very different from a gallbladder stone.

Quaestor said...

@ Lazlo

Very clever, but your lyric doesn't scan.

I read the news today oh boy
Twelve thousand gallstones in one Bengali
And though the stones were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many stones it takes to fill the Human Gall.

FIFY.

Quaestor said...

Imagine how distended that woman's gall bladder must have been.

Figuring out the volume occupied by 11,950 random spheroids varying between 2 and 5 millimeters (a common BB is about 4.3mm in diameter) is an interesting problem of higher mathematics which has engaged the curiosity of some of the greatest minds, Johannes Kepler and Friedrich Gauss among them.