Four of the most extreme surgeries

Are you a fan of medical miracles? Here are some of science’s greatest surgeries ever performed.

Reuben Dhanaraj

Published: 25 June 2015, 5:41 PM

Life is fragile, and its preservation is something held on to dearly. Doctors receive plenty of recognition for their efforts to aid the living, and some have outdone themselves by pushing the envelope to help patients in dire straits. Here are four of the most extreme surgeries ever done.

1. The infant who was born twice

Macie Hope was born on May 3, 2008, to parents Chad and Keri McCartney. Her story began when an ultrasound found that Macie had a huge tumour growing out of her tailbone, absorbing her blood as it grew.

In a desperate attempt to save Macie’s life, Keri was heavily sedated and her uterus was brought out of her body. It was there that they opened the womb and brought out 80 per cent of Macie’s body, just enough to remove the tumour. Having done so, they quickly sealed her back into the womb, placed it back in her mother, and prayed for the best. As miracles go, Macie was born again 10 weeks later with perfect health and a thick crop of hair.


Alive and well, Macie is shown here with her family just after birth
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2. The man who got a new face

Richard Norris was left without most of his upper and lower jaw after a gunshot injury in 1997. In what is described by doctors as the most extensive surgery of its kind, Richard had his jaw, tongue, underlying tissue and a set of teeth replaced. However, his face was very much destroyed.

In 2012 he was given a new face, courtesy of 21-year-old Joshua Aversano, who had his face contributed after his death in a traffic accident. The surgery took place on March 2012 and has given the now 41-year-old Richard a new lease of life.


The many faces of Richard Norris
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3. A beauty queen’s story

Former beauty queen Jamie Hilton has been described by doctors as a ‘walking miracle’. In June 2012, Jamie, her husband Nick, and brother-in-law Greg were on a salmon fishing trip, when she slipped and fell 12 feet onto a boulder. As a result, she suffered a serious head injury, and doctors decided to remove part of her skull to allow the brain to grow out of its usual confines as it had severely swelled up.

Jamie carried the portion of her skull in her abdomen for 42 days, until it was taken out and sealed back where it belonged. She now lives with her husband and three kids in Idaho, America.


Jamie and her family some time after the operation
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4. The lady who grew her ear on her arm

Sherrie Walters had her ear, a piece of her skull and her ear canal removed in 2008 after developing bassal cell carcinoma. Doctors then proceeded to regrow the 42-year-old’s ear on her arm with cartilage from her ribs.

The ear was eventually removed from her arm and attached to her head four months later, making Sherrie is the first person to have undergone a successful surgery like this.


The amazing journey of Sherries’s ear
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