For the first time in the world, an artificial bronchus was successfully grafted onto a 78-year-old patient with lung cancer, avoiding the complete removal of the lung, medical authorities announced.
The surgical innovation, carried out on October 28 2009 by a team at Paris's Avicenne Hospital, meant that "the cancerous growth could be removed with greater safety margins" and also "avoidance of the foreseen complete removal of the lung carrying very high risk of post-operatory death," the group Public Assistance - Paris Hospitals said in a statement.
The patient "is very well" following the graft of the artificial airway, thoracic and vascular surgeon Emmanuel Martinod, who carried out the surgery, told AFP.
"Our procedure followed 10 years of research," he said, adding however that "we must remain very prudent."
The artificial bronchus was made up of biological material strengthened by a stent. The use of aortic tissue, preserved by cold and available from a tissue bank, had the advantage of not needing anti-rejection medicaments, which are counter-indicated in treatment of cancers.
Details of this medical first are published in the review The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
A press conference was scheduled for 1330 GMT Thursday at the suburban hospital where the implant was carried out.