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A Florida woman became the first person in the U.S. to under go the MOOKP implantation technique. The controversial vision-restoring surgery uses a tooth to anchor a prosthetic lens. While disfiguring, the procedure can provide terrific results, restoring vision in some legally blind patients.  (Source: Fox News)
A bizarre new medical technique may help some victims of impaired vision

While synthetic eyeballs -- either of electronic or organic nature -- advance towards one day replacing vision, scientists are also developing new near-term procedures to save or restore patients' vision.  Among these is the osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, or MOOKP, a bizarre technique that uses a tooth to implant a synthetic lens in patients with cornea damage.

Typically prosthetic lenses can be implanted into patients without the need for such extreme measures.  However, in some patients the extreme damage makes it impossible for a clean implantation.  That's where the MOOKP comes in.  The procedure involves removing one of the patient's teeth and using it to anchor the lens.  The procedure had been successfully performed in Europe and Asia, but never before in the U.S. -- until now.

Doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine successfully completed surgery on 60-year-old Sharron Thornton over Labor Day Weekend.  Ms. Thornton, was legally blinded by a unexpected reaction to a drug in 2000.  Her options were limited, as here eye surface was too dry for a corneal implant.

So doctors turned to the controversial and outlandish MOOKP method, never before attempted in the States.  Ms. Thornton's ironically named eye tooth and part of her jaw bone were removed and sculpted to form a base for the lens.  The lens-bone combination was then implanted into a pouch in the patient's cheek, where it was encased in living tissue.  A hole was then cut in the cornea and the tissue-bone-lens capsule was implanted into the eye, with lens covering the hole.  The mucous membrane was then pulled back over the eye like a blanket and a hole was cut to let light pass through the artificial lens.

Thanks to the procedure Ms. Thornton has now regained sight.  States ophthalmologist and surgeon Victor Perez who helped perform the procedure, "Sharron was able to see 20/60 this morning. She was seeing only shadows a couple of weeks ago."

The radical technique is not without its downsides.  Describes James Chodosh, a faculty member at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, "It's a pretty radical operation and can be disfiguring."

Still, some with vision impairments feel the disfigured appearance would be more than worth it for the chance to see again.  Ms. Thornton says being able to see clearly and read again is "like Christmas".  She states, "Without sight, life is really hard. I'm hoping this surgery will help countless people."

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RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By epobirs on 9/21/2009 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're making a stupid assumption about this being a matter of funding. Many procedures and drugs become available overseas first because the countries have far less regulation in regard to testing new procedures and medicines.

There is a downside to this. Consider Thalidomide and its tendency to cause horrific birth defects. Of the 10,000 children born with severe defects due to their mothers taking the drug during pregnancy, only 17 occurred in the US. The FDA had yet to approve its use in any context when news broke of the birth defects in Europe. This lead to the addition of pregnancy to the conditions under which new drugs are tested.

Remember, freedom includes the freedom to screw up.

"Not tested on animals. You'll be the first!"

RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By adiposity on 9/21/2009 1:26:20 PM , Rating: 3
Remember, freedom includes the freedom to screw up.

So you are admitting that we are less free than a lot of other nations, I guess.


RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By sigmatau on 9/21/2009 4:35:07 PM , Rating: 4

You use a drug from 1957 to prove your point? LOL!!!!!!

I would wager that the countries where this cutting edge surgery was done BEFORE it was considered in the US have better consumer protections than we do.

GL paying your middle man (insurance) to profit off of your health while providing nothing. Sounds like a bookie to me.

RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By Kenenniah on 9/25/2009 5:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
GL paying your middle man (insurance) to profit off of your health while providing nothing. Sounds like a bookie to me.

According to that logic, I'd be better off with no insurnace right? I mean if insurance companies provide nothing......
What insurance companies provide is spread risk. Some insureds may pay more for health care through insurance premiums than they would have without, while others pay less. Unfortunately noone knows if they are going to have major health issues that cost a lot of money or not.

Government run health care or insurance would follow the exact same principle. Inusrance premiums are just paid through taxes instead. The money has to come from somewhere.

Now if you want to argue that government run would be cheaper due to no profit motive, then there's a valid debate. But to say insurance companies provide nothing is just ridiculous.

If we really want to fix healthcare, we need to lower the costs. Regardless of whether its private insurance or government run insurance, if nothing changes with regard to how much surgeries, hosiptal stays, etc. cost..... well as I said before, the money has to come from somewhere.

RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By sigmatau on 9/21/09, Rating: 0
RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By Shadrack2 on 9/22/2009 7:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
I would kinda hope that some of the funding came from the drug company responsible for the "unexpected reaction" that caused her blindness in the first place, but I doubt it since they would have FDA approval for it's use.

RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By goddamnit on 9/22/2009 11:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
It amazes me how it can be that America seems to have the most vigorous regulations of the world (speaking ironically) and at the same time its people are taking pills, medicine and other kind of medical additions like eating burgers. Not to mention the excessive use of genetic engineering with obious risks to humanity. I'm by no way opposing scientific advantage, mind that. But just when America seems to be second to someone it's always the same with some of you:

It's because of safety.
If America's number one, the other countries are "ruled by little girls" and that's why they are second.

Just accept that sometimes you are beginning to be second. Look at face transplants for example.

My 2 cents.

PS: I'm from Europe and there's definitely a lot going well in the US and it sure is a great country. Just be a little more open to other ways in other countries.

RE: Damned socialized medicine!
By MrPoletski on 9/25/2009 8:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
Americans have the biggest and best everything, didn't you know?

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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