Houston Leads The Way In Innovative Cancer Procedures

Recently, Houston broke ground in what is possible in cancer care. One local surgeon is leading the way in using new techniques in patients.


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Dr. Jesse Selber is a plastic surgeon who specializes in cancer reconstruction at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Just last month, he performed a procedure that was the first of it's kind.

Using the tissue from a patient’s twin sister, he, along with a team of surgeons were able to perform a multi disciplinary surgery, where they removed a rare tumor and replaced it with a large piece of tissue.

"The transplant itself was a 13 hour, two room endeavor where we started on Mary Jane, the sister, carried it across the the next room to Marian, who had the big hole in her back, and we started to connect the blood vessels," he says.

Selber says family members usually offer to donate their tissue, but aren't well-matched.

In this case, the sisters were both 100 percent genetically compatible and identical.

Selber says this form of reconstructive surgery was the most extensive MD Anderson had ever done and is one of the largest tissue transplantation’s on record. It's also one of the only cases performed on identical twins.

Dr. Selber is not foreign to medical innovation.

About two years ago, he help reconstruct a scalp and skull, while transplanting a kidney and pancreas at the same time on a single person.

Selber says it's not so much new technology being used making this possible, but a new way of thinking.

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