Sinus Surgery Knows No Species
When you are blogging about sinus surgery every week, nobody ever tells you how many responsible posts you must do before you can write one about gorillas surgery. But let us all assume I have passed that threshold by now, because this heartwarming tale deserves a telling.
Zookeepers in Seattle recently noticed that a western lowland gorilla named Vip seemed to be suffering from lethargy and related symptoms. They decided to commission an exam, which led to a clear diagnosis: the ape had contracted a severe sinus infection, one that was already eating into the bones in its face.
Surgeons were alerted, and a rather unorthodox procedure performed:
In the operating room, “It was very strange,” said Davis, who said he couldn’t stop looking at Vip’s large fangs and enormous head. The gorilla’s nose acted like an accordion. “You can pull the nose, and it will pull out about an inch and a half to 2 inches [3.8 to 5 centimeters],” making it difficult to use the surgical instruments until Davis applied a special device that kept the nose open, he said.
Upshot: Vip is back in his habitat, vastly improved, and almost certainly thumping his chest in support of the many charitable efforts it took to get him back on his feet. Score one for primate solidarity.