Navigation Links
UC Davis surgeons test innovative device in patient with swallowing disorder
Date:11/30/2010

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) In what might be one of the world's first medicinal body piercings, UC Davis Health System surgeons announced today that they have successfully implanted an experimental device in the throat of a man that will enable him to manually control his ability to swallow. The device, which could offer an effective treatment option for people suffering from severe swallowing problems, is controlled by pulling on a tiny metal pin that extends through the skin in the neck. The post, when pulled forward, manually opens the esophagus and allows food and water to pass.

The patient, a Uruguayan physician and a cancer survivor who sought help from UC Davis swallowing experts, came to Sacramento in mid-November for a series of tests and evaluations as follow-up to the implant surgery that took place last summer. Peter Belafsky and Gregory Farwell, both professors of otolaryngology, had traveled to South America in August to perform the unique implantation. With the assistance of Uruguayan medical colleagues, they monitored their patient long distance while waiting for the incision site to fully heal.

After checking the patient's swallowing control and capabilities using the X-ray technology of a fluoroscope, Belafsky pronounced the experimental device a qualified success and one that could offer a much-needed treatment option for tens of thousands of patients with swallowing disorders known as oropharyngeal dysphagia.

"We've developed an earring-like stud that extrudes about a quarter-inch above the skin, much like a body piercing," said Belafsky, who directs the Voice and Swallowing Center at UC Davis and spent five years developing the device. He designed it to more closely resemble an earring post after taking his two daughters to get their ears pierced.

"By attaching a tiny titanium rod to a postage stamp-sized plate that we've sewn into the neck cartilage, we've enabled our patient to safely and without pain pull on the device to move his larynx forward and open the esophagus to allow food and liquid to pass," said Belafsky. "It's the first time a person has been able to manually control the entryway to the esophagus."

Severe swallowing disorders are common and costly health problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Complications include aspiration, dehydration, pneumonia, malnutrition, depression and death. The problem can be caused by a stroke, head and neck cancer, head injuries, advancing age and diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In the United States, an estimated 16.5 million people may need treatment for problems associated with oropharyngeal dysphagia. A variety of surgical procedures are available to improve swallowing function, but such treatments are invasive and may only provide partial relief, and fail in a significant percentage of individuals.

Daniel Fiandra, the Uruguayan doctor who was treated by Belafsky and Farwell, has used a feeding tube for nourishment and has not been able to eat or drink in more than two years after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for tonsil cancer. Coming from a family of physicians, Fiandra, who is a cardiologist, researched and contacted UC Davis after learning about its expertise in treating voice and swallowing disorders. (A very similar device developed by Belafsky is currently being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for a clinical trial at UC Davis.)

At a hospital in Uruguay's capital of Montevideo, Belafsky and Farwell sutured the t-shaped titanium device into the cricoid cartilage during a 45-minute procedure. They required that he wait several months before attempting to use the device to ensure the incision site fully healed and the device was well-integrated into cartilage located just above the thyroid gland in the throat.

Using a UC Davis technology transfer grant, which supports medical technology development at the university, Belafsky settled on a design for the tiny device after creating and testing several prototypes. He originally developed a version that used magnets before arriving at the current design for manually controlling the upper esophageal sphincter.

"Most of us don't even think about the complex physical processes behind eating and swallowing, said Belafsky. "Not being able to swallow is truly a life-altering problem. I'm very optimistic that this tiny biomedical device may help restore quality of life for the many people who suffer from severe swallowing problems."

Having extensively assessed the device's efficacy and safety in animal and cadaver models before implanting into his first patient, Belafsky is optimistic that clinical trials will be approved to begin testing in the United States. Fiandra, the Uruguayan patient, returned home to South America earlier this month, where he will continue to practice swallowing for the first time in more than two years.


'/>"/>

Contact: Charles Casey
charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9048
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Inhaled steroids increase diabetes risk, say Lady Davis Institute researchers
2. UC Davis scientists find link between arthritis pain reliever and cardiovascular events
3. UC Davis study finds low liver cancer survival rates among Laotian/Hmong-Americans
4. New UC Davis study finds early Alzheimers identification method
5. DavisPTnetwork Recruits Bloggers to Report Key Session Learning Points Live from APTA 2010
6. DavisPTnetwork Partners with the Florida Physical Therapy Association to Provide Online Continuing Education
7. DavisPTnetwork Partners with the New York Physical Therapy Association to Provide Online Continuing Education
8. Shortage of On-Call Trauma Surgeons in U.S. Hospitals: Poll
9. Military experts provide civilian surgeons with guidance on handling bomb blast injuries
10. Long Hours Put Surgeons, Patients at Risk, Study Suggests
11. Diverse surgeons initiative effectively increases underrepresented minorities in academic surgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... announces the addition Onnit brand Alpha BRAIN and New Mood Daily-Stress Formula for ... and mood optimization products to the store is just one more way Shamangelic ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The White House announced ... loans, more information about their loan terms and accounts, and more protections for ... including federal and private loans, has reached $1.3 trillion, with 43 million Americans ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... that student team BioCellection won the $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize of the 2016 ... Gloeckner Undergraduate Award, the Michelson People’s Choice Award, and the Committee Award for ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Dr. Robert Mondavi, one of the dentists in Torrance , ... fast-growing field as more patients are discovering the many different ways they can change ... currently available to them and which ones might work for their smiles. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Innovations with Ed Begley ... upcoming episode, airing third quarter 2016 via Discovery Channel. Dates and show times ... Dairy Products, located in Greenwood, Wisconsin applies product research and development and continuous ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- Treato , the single largest ... that it has been named a Cool Vendor by ... Sciences, 2016, Stephen Davies , Michael ... life-science- oriented analytics, algorithms and smart machine technology in ... medication ingestion, and analyze unstructured information.   ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016  ValGenesis, Inc., ... Management Solutions (VLMS) today announced that a ... for sufferers of chronic kidney failure has ... manage their corporate validation process. The global ... software solution to manage their validation processes ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , le 27 Avril 2016 ... d,affaires a progressé de +5% sur le trimestre, ... récurrentes de consommables  Croissance de +16% ... Mauna Kea Technologies (Euronext : MKEA, ... d,endomicroscopie confocale laser, annonce aujourd,hui son chiffre d,affaires ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: