If you make it through life without ever getting sick or injured, you may be entirely fictional. It’s nearly impossible to live without needing medical help at some point. If you’re lucky, you’ll only need minor help.
For more in-depth issues, medical science has all manner of treatments and procedures that may be able to help you. Some are simple, some are complex and a handful are so weird they sound like they have to be totally fictional. But they’re not!
10. A Bogota Bag Involves Sewing a Urine Bag Over an Open Wound
If someone told you that you needed a Bogota Bag you’d be forgiven for thinking it was either a horrible euphemism or the nickname for something used to smuggle drugs. In reality, the Bogota Bag is a medical procedure used to help close over stomach wounds.
It’s not unheard of that a patient’s stomach can essentially burst after certain procedures. Closing the ensuing wound can prove to be extremely difficult. There are various methods such as using a mesh or packing the abdominal cavity but they can all be risky and lead to further complications. The Bogota Bag, so named because it was first tried in Bogota, has proven to be one of the safest methods.
If a patient has an open stomach wound, doctors can take a sterile plastic bag, often a bag used to collect urine, and cut it open. The bag is then placed over the wound like a shield and sewn to the skin. The patient will have a fully exposed hole covered over by this plastic bag sewn on top of it that can allow the stomach wound to heal underneath or can at least allow the wound to remain covered and sterile until doctors are able to properly treat the cause of the damage and prevent further injury.
9. Rectal Prolapses Can Be Treated With Sugar
Few words in the English language can inspire more discomfort than “rectal prolapse.” The idea is not a pleasant one, and the reality is even less so. Any number of reasons including issues with muscles or ligaments can cause a patient’s rectum to slide out of place and protrude from the body rather than remaining inside as it’s supposed to. This can lead to dangerous complications if it’s not resolved.
In some cases, surgery may be required to fix the problem but not always. In fact, there’s a method that is recommended for a person to try at home if this was a onetime sort of deal you’d like to fix on your own. And, let’s be honest, most people probably want to fix this on their own.
The doctor-approved method for repairing a rectal prolapse at home requires sugar. If you are unable to use a gloved hand to gently push a prolapse back inside, sprinkle it with granulated sugar and wait 15 minutes. The sugar won’t harm the tissue but it will absorb moisture. In doing so, it will cause the prolapse to shrink and make it easier to push back into place.
8. Osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis Involves Sewing a Blind Patient’s Tooth Onto Their Eyeball
The term osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis doesn’t roll off the tongue very well. Thankfully, it’s not something most of us need to know but if you ever require the procedure, you better believe you’re going to remember it. It involves sticking a tooth in your eye.
Known as tooth-in-eye surgery, the procedure can restore vision to those who suffer corneal blindness. A patient’s tooth is removed and doctors drill a hole through it. In the hole a small, plastic lens is placed. The tooth is planted in the patient’s cheek so that tissue can start growing over it and it can develop a blood supply.
Skin from the mouth is sewn to the eye, then the tooth is sewn to the surface of the eyeball with the lens in the correct position. The new lens functions the way your old eye was supposed to. Patients who have undergone the procedure went from totally blind to having 20/20 vision.
7. Laser Surgery Can Turn Brown Eyes Blue
Laser eye surgery to improve vision has been around for years now and most people are familiar with it. But it’s not the only kind of laser eye surgery you can get. Plastic surgery is also an option if you don’t like your eye color.
For those who have brown eyes, and it only works with brown eyes, there’s a procedure to burn away that pigment with a laser and leave your eyes devoid of pigment which makes them appear blue. The process takes just a few seconds but will require a couple of weeks to show off the results. You’ll also have to go south to get it done as it’s not approved in the United States.
There’s also a second option for eye color changes in the form of iris implants. This is supposed to be for people with iris damage, but colored silicone replacements can be surgically implanted, permanently changing eye color. They’re known to cause a host of side effects and complications, though.
6. InstaBreasts or Vacation Breasts Give a Patient Bigger Breasts for a Day
Breast implants remain one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures in the world. There are around 300,000 performed each year in the United States. The procedure costs, on average, about $4,500 and that’s not including the cost of anesthetic or certain other expenses.
For those who aren’t willing to commit to the procedure and maybe just want to take augmented breasts for a test run, there’s a procedure called InstaBreasts, also known as Vacation Breasts. It offers a temporary idea of what you might get if you went ahead with permanent implants.
The process lasts for just 24 hours and still comes with a price tag that ranges from $2,500 to $3,500. A doctor will inject a saline solution directly into the breast tissue causing them to immediately swell. Your body will absorb the liquid within 24 hours and pee it out.
5. Rotationplasty Turns Your Foot Into Your Knee
The name “rotationplasty” doesn’t sound ominous or odd at first, but the reality of the procedure is quite perplexing, especially at first glance. The procedure is most often used to treat bone cancer, generally in and around the knees of children.
The knee, the bottom of the femur and the upper portion of the tibia are entirely removed to excise the tumors. The lower portion of the leg is turned right around, a full 180 degrees and then attached to the rest of the femur. The ankle becomes the new knee, and the foot is on backwards, where you’d normally expect the knee to be.
Once the surgery is complete, a prosthetic can be attached that allows the patient to walk more or less as normal since they now have a functional knee again.
4. EPR Involves Removing a Patient’s Blood and Replacing it with Cold Saline
Leaning heavily into what looks like science fiction is EPR or emergency preservation and resuscitation. The procedure is a kind of suspended animation meant to give doctors more time to save a patient in a time sensitive emergency situation.
Like similar ideas in fiction, a patient is forced into a state of hypothermia and their organs are slowed down. That means that their body has to be cooled down to about 10C to 15C or 50F to 59F. This is done by literally replacing the patient’s blood with freezing saline.
The process can extend the time doctors have to operate by up to two hours. It’s only done in the case of a severely traumatic injury, such as a gunshot wound, when the patient has already lost half of their blood and their heart has stopped. Normally, patients only have a 5% survival rate in conditions like these.
The cooling shuts down the patient’s brain, preserves the organs and they are more or less dead at that moment. But they can be operated on and an injury that would normally only give doctors minutes to repair can now be operated on for those two hours.
After surgery, the patient gets blood pumped back into their body and their temperature is raised.
The procedure was first tried on a human patient in 2019.
3. Defecography Requires You To Get an X-Ray While You Poop
For doctors to gain a fuller understanding of a patient’s overall condition imaging is often necessary. You’ve got your CAT scans and your MRIs and your X-rays. And then you’ve got your defecography.
Defecography is done with a certain kind of x-ray or MRI and its focus is entirely on how you poop, particularly how your muscles work during the process. Unlike a traditional X-ray where you just hold still and get an image taken, for this one you need to be a little more active. Which is to say it has to be done while you’re in the process of defecating, hence the name.
As you can, but probably don’t want to, imagine, this is a little more in-depth than most imaging. And it gets worse. They don’t want to watch you poop actual poop for this exam. Instead, they pack you with a barium paste. It has the same consistency as poop, which we’re not going to question right now, but because it’s barium, it shows up easily in scans.
Once you’re full, you get to sit on a special scanning toilet and let loose the dogs of war. The scans taken will show how all your various organs and muscles work during the process and ideally will aid in diagnosing whatever condition brought you to a doctor in the first place.
2. The Krukenberg Procedure Can Turn Your Forearm into a Pincer
If you were to get into an accident and lose your hand, you might expect that your options about what to do next are limited. Maybe the hand could be reattached in certain circumstances, but what if that’s not an option? Most of us would probably consider a prosthetic as the next choice. Hand prosthetics have existed since the 16th century and modern ones can be quite advanced.
There is another option that is less well known for patients who have lost a hand. The Krukenberg procedure dates back to the early 1900s, and it involves turning someone’s forearm into a lobster claw-like pincer.
The procedure is rarely done and typically only performed on patients who cannot afford a prosthetic but still need their hands for work. It allows for some minimal dexterity because it separates the arm bones, the ulna and the radius, to create two appendages like long fingers. The patient can move them and grip things, though obviously not as strongly as they could with a functional hand. One of the perceived benefits is that the patient retains sensation which, in some cases, is preferred to having a prosthesis.
1. Pokertox is a Botox Procedure to Hide a Gambler’s Tells
Everyone knows about Botox these days, that procedure is old news. Less well known, although essentially just a niche version of the exact same thing, is Pokertox. It’s 100% a gimmick that appeals to a very small segment of the population but that doesn’t mean it can’t make someone a few bucks.
The idea of a poker face is something anyone familiar with gambling is aware of. Poker is a game of skill that requires understanding not just the cards you’re dealt but, oftentimes, the people you’re playing against. If you’re bluffing your way through a game, you need a solid poker face so that you don’t give away any clues. But what if you can’t help it? What if you have a very expressive face?
Pokertox is a procedure to inject Botox into your forehead so that your face is a little too firm and frozen to express any emotion, thus making you a better poker player. Is there any scientific validity to the idea? Who’s to say? But it still exists.