Controversial voicebox transplant gets approval in UK
A controversial voicebox transplant could be performed in the UK within months, after experts gave the procedure the go-ahead.
It would be the first time the transplant was carried out in the UK and only the third procedure of its kind in the world.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) reviewed the ethics, technical evidence and patient support required for a voicebox transplant and concluded that the procedure can improve quality of life.
It is now thought that the first UK voicebox transplant will be performed on a patient who has a damaged voicebox, either through an accident or cancer.
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A damaged voicebox, or larynx as it is otherwise known, can make breathing, swallowing, and speaking incredibly difficult if not impossible.
People can also experience difficulty with things like coughing, kissing, or smelling.
Although a voicebox transplant can help to cure patients of these difficulties and drastically improve someone’s quality of life, the procedure is surrounded with controversy and risk.
Patients would have to rely on taking anti-rejection medication after the operation, which technically is a complex procedure involving the connecting of nerves.
There are also some concerns that a voicebox transplant can alter the patient’s sense of smell or taste and could even change the way their voice sounds.
Professor Martin Birchall from the University College London, will head up the team which is going to carry out the first procedure.
He was involved in an operation last October in which an American women received a double voicebox-windpipe transplant.
The first voicebox transplant was performed in Ohio in 1998 on a man who damaged his voicebox in a motorbike accident.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”