Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mystery object again

No guesses on this one. The instrument is called a probang. It was used for disimpacting the oesophagus when blocked with an over ambitious bolus of food, usually in cattle. You simply used the instrument to push the impacted food through into the stomach.

It reminds me of a patient I was involved with many years ago, when I was in training. Young male out on the town with his mates drinking heavily, and playing silly games. He bet his mates he could swallow a whole, intact chicken wing. He couldn’t, and it got stuck at the lower end of the oesophagus, and he needed surgery to move it.

For reasons I won’t go into, the rigid oesophagoscope was not available, and the fibre optic simply wasn’t up to the job. The surgeon, George, improvised. So what instrument did he use to retrieve the chicken wing? An old fashioned, steel & chrome, non disposable, used thousands of times rigid sigmoidoscope, like the one below. Good one George.

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