Posts Tagged ‘ Mapping the body ’

Mapping the body: the ovaries

December 20, 2011

Normal uterus in the female reproductive system

Another interesting article…this time talking about the ovaries…having a little understanding of your body helps avoid that confused look on your face when visiting your doctor. A little anotomical knowledge will surely insure better communication with your physician. So whether we are talking about ovaries or eustachian tubes…take the time to learn…

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: the ovaries” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 19th December 2011 20.59 UTC

Ovaries are the female gonads. They produce eggs and secrete sex hormones, oestrogens and progesterone. They are suspended on each side of the uterus by a tough structure known as the ovarian ligament. They are also loosely clasped by frond-like structures called fimbriae, which guide an egg into the fallopian tube, and thence to the uterus, where fertilisation may take place.

A woman’s full quota of eggs is established before she is even born. At puberty, the hormones secreted by the ovary enable sexual maturation and allow the womb to accommodate and sustain the process of pregnancy.

Disorders of the ovary range from mild to severe. Mittelschmerz is a cramp that some women experience around the middle of their menstrual cycle as ovulation occurs. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs which usually affect women during their reproductive years. Most don’t need treatment, although some require surgery. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which multiple cysts form, often causing hairiness, acne and fertility difficulties.

Ovarian cancer is sometimes known as “the silent killer”. Because ovarian enlargement often produces no symptoms, these tumours are commonly advanced before diagnosis. Even when patients do feel discomfort, it tends to occur as a general sense of bloating or tummy-ache, which is easily confused with more benign illnesses. Surgery, chemo and radiotherapy form the mainstay of treatment, but the best hope for the future reduction of deaths from this disease lies in finding a way to pick it up much sooner.

Gabriel Weston is a surgeon and author of Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: hyoid

December 7, 2011

hyroid mapping the body

The hyoid is a horse-shaped bone in the thoart…existing alone and being anchored by muscles surrounding it.  It helps with swallowing and does serve some protection . Normally located at the level of cervicals 3 and 4…in front or anterior of the cervical vertebra…many times in a case of murder, a victim who was strangulated would show a hyoid bone that was broken due to pressure applied to it…During CSI episode 9 Season 10: “We found the bones of a male body buried in three feet of dirt.  The hyoid bone was broken,which indicates death by strangulation,so…” here’s the link

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Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: hyoid” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 5th December 2011 20.30 UTC

The hyoid is the only bone in the throat. It is also the single bone in the body that doesn’t connect directly with any others, being anchored instead by ligaments and muscles. It is composed of a central portion called the body, flanked on each side by the greater and lesser cornu. If you run your finger backwards from your chin to the point where your head meets your neck and press gently, you will be able to feel the resistance of your own hyoid bone.

One of its functions is to anchor the back of the tongue while the rest is free to move. For this reason, it plays a crucial role in speech and swallowing. The hyoid also protects the fragile tissues of the larynx and pharynx.

Although the hyoid doesn’t often get seriously injured, it may break after trauma to the neck. It is a macabre statistic that in a postmortem study of a group of people murdered by strangulation, one third of victims were found to have fractured hyoids.

But most head-and-neck surgeons come into contact with the hyoid bone while performing something known as a Sistrunk’s operation. During embryological development, the thyroid gland starts life at the back of the tongue before finding its correct position in the neck. In some people, there is an abnormal remnant of this early journey, known as a thyroglossal duct. Cysts may develop anywhere along its course and appear as a painless lump in the mid line of the neck. Surgical removal is the best treatment and, in order to prevent recurrence, it is necessary to cut out a core of tissue running from the base of the tongue to the thyroid, including the central portion of the hyoid bone.

Gabriel Weston is a surgeon and author of Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: fascia

November 30, 2011


All kinds disease conditions can affect our bodies directly under the skin. Many of us, including myself have had the priviledge of dissecting cadavers for the sole purpose of education. It was an experience I will never forget and this opportunity gave me an enormous understanding of the human anatony! Dare to learn and continue learning. Map your body..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: fascia” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 28th November 2011 20.00 UTC

Fascia is a fibrous connective tissue which is distributed throughout the body. It is made from dense bundles of collagen, and looks rather like cling-film. It surrounds muscles, organs, bones, nerves and blood vessels and prevents friction, allowing different structures to glide over each other on movement. For surgeons, it is a gift. Dissecting along fascia, known in surgical parlance as “finding the right plane” is a smooth and almost bloodless business. When planes are hard to find, or have been altered by disease, the process of operating becomes messy.

Plantar fasciitis, experienced by one in 10 people, also known as “policeman’s heel” because it tends to affect those who walk a lot, occurs when the fascia running along the sole of the foot becomes inflamed. Treatment is with stretching and rest.

Eosinophilic fasciitis is a rare condition in which there is build-up of a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil in the fascia and muscles of the hands, arms, legs and feet causing discomfort, redness and warmth. It is treated with anti-inflammatories and steroids.

But by far the worst condition to involve this connective tissue is the infamous necrotising fasciitis. Infection spreads like wildfire along the fascial planes, and a person may become extremely unwell with significant deep tissue destruction before any dramatic signs appear on the surface of the skin. High-dose intravenous antibiotics are given to anyone suspected of having contracted this devastating infection but, ultimately, the only way of saving someone is with aggressive surgery, sometimes involving amputation. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: the sigmoid colon

October 13, 2011

The large Intestine

 Many diseases and conditions can affect the bowels. Constipation is a serious condition commonly seen in adults over the age of 50. Usually a change in diet to include more fiber and water will resolve this problem. Oh my colon!

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony  

Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: the sigmoid colon” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 3rd October 2011 20.00 UTC

It is usually patients not doctors who balk at the sight of a medical instrument being unwrapped. But the flatus tube, used to treat a condition of the sigmoid colon, is one no surgeon relishes.

The sigmoid is an S-shaped stretch of large bowel, about 40cm long, which leads up to the rectum. Its main function is to store faeces until it is ready to enter the rectum and be expelled through the anus, and it is the site of a variety of problems.

Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease may occur here. Diverticulitis, in which little outpouchings of bowel form and become inflamed, is more common in the sigmoid than any other part of the bowel. Small growths called polyps, as well as cancers, also favour this site.

The good thing about investigating sigmoid disease is that this part of the colon isn’t far from the outside world. It is easy to pass a rigid sigmoidoscope into the anus and get a decent view. For a more detailed look patients are sedated so that a flexible sigmoidoscope can be introduced, and biopsies can be taken through this. If necessary, it is possible to remove the entire part of the colon in a sigmoidectomy. Usually, the remaining colon can then be joined to the rectum.

But it is another condition that makes junior doctors quake in their surgical boots. Volvulus is when a part of the bowel twists on the tissue which attaches it to the abdominal wall, forming an obstruction and it is commoner here. Patients are usually over 50 and chronically constipated. In A&E, they describe abdominal pain and not having passed faeces or wind for days. Simple x-rays may show a sigmoid colon so distended that it extends all the way up to the chest-bone.

Although definitive treatment often involves surgery, it is the junior doctor’s job to deal with the acute situation with the help of the dreaded flatus tube. The patient lies on their side and a sigmoidoscope is inserted gently into the back passage. The junior then has to slowly manoeuvre the hollow flatus tube through the sigmoidoscope and into the obstructed loop. The key is to make sure the other end is directed over a bucket and not one’s shoes. The patient’s sense of enormous relief when fluid, flatus and faeces are expelled into the bucket is in inverse proportion to the doctor’s discomfort.

• Gabriel Weston is a surgeon and author of Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: gastric pits

September 22, 2011

A close-up of a gastric pit

The human stomach is a facinating organ responsible for the breakdown of food that will be absorbed into the body. Problems with the stomach is a source of hugh profits for the pharmaceutical companies. Individuals sometimes become dependent on laxatives,acid,or stomachache medications to relieve symptoms. If stomach symptoms do not subside within a week from onset, seek medical attention and allow a doctor to do a complete workup to determine the cause of your problems in your gastic pits .

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Dr Anthony   

Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: gastric pits” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 19th September 2011 20.30 UTC

There’s a funny kind of hierarchy that exists among the organs. You simply don’t hear bladder surgeons boasting about their art in quite the same way that heart and brain surgeons do. And yet, even the most humble body part has its own complex and fascinating physiology.

I realised this when learning about the structure and function of the stomach. Previously, I had thought of the tummy as a lowly place, a mere dumping ground for anything we might choose to stuff in our mouths. I couldn’t have been more mistaken, and my new-found respect for the stomach gained focus when I read about the gastric pit.

If you look inside a stomach when dissecting a cadaver, or during an operation, it appears like a bag whose surface is thrown into a series of visible folds. These are called rugae, and enable the stomach to increase dramatically in size when it fills with food. What you can’t see with the naked eye is that the lining of the stomach (the mucosa) is interrupted by multiple tiny openings, each of which leads to a tiny hormone-producing tunnel. These are the gastric pits and each one is lined with a number of different types of cell, producing a separate, important gastric secretion.

The cells at the top of the pits produce mucus, which protects the stomach lining against gastric acid. Deeper down are two other cell types. Parietal cells generate stomach acid as well as a substance called intrinsic factor, which enables a vitamin called B12 to be absorbed further along in the gut. The impressively named chief cells secrete pepsinogen which, when it mixes with stomach acid, becomes an enzyme called pepsin. This helps to break down the protein we eat into smaller units that can be absorbed.

The heart may be in charge of pumping blood around the whole body. The brain may be master of all we do. But, at the tissue level, wonders are also to be found in those organs that we may think of as being more ordinary.

Gabriel Weston is a surgeon and author of Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: achilles tendon

September 14, 2011


I have seen many injuries to the achilles tendon while treating patients over the years…most of them were strain/sprain injuries to the tendon or muscle. You must approach sport activity carefully, especially if you are now not as active ….due to family or occupation responsibilities keeping you from daily participation. Warming up and stretching muscles prior to physical activity will reduce your risk to injury.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: achilles tendon” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 12th September 2011 20.30 UTC

There is truth in the view that doctors make the worst patients. I have never seen a person obstruct their own recovery more than a surgical consultant who snapped his achilles tendon while playing tennis.

The achilles is a ropelike band of tissue, which connects the calf muscle to the heel on each side, and is crucial for walking, running and jumping. With time and disuse, the tendon can become weak and prone to rupture. So it’s no surprise that injuries to this part of the body tend to occur in middle-aged men enjoying a spurt of uncharacteristic activity, especially where leaping and pivoting are involved. Tripping or falling from a height are also mechanisms of injury.

When it ruptures, sufferers feel sudden severe pain in the ankle or calf, and may hear an audible “pop”. Diagnosis in an emergency department is usually made by a doctor asking their patient to lie prone, feet dangling off the end of the examining table. On squeezing the calf muscle, an intact achilles will cause the foot to point – the absence of this reaction suggests a rupture. Although competitive athletes may be put forward for surgical repair of their tendons, most patients have their leg immobilised in a cast for at least six weeks.

Far worse than this, though, are fractures to the heel bone (or calcaneum). Such injuries tend to occur after a fall from a height or from severe twisting of the foot, and are known to be so painful that patients may be distracted from other injuries such as spinal or leg fractures, which often occur at the same time. Whether patients have surgery or not, it is usually not possible to start walking for at least three months after breaking your heel, and the incidence of lifelong disablility from chronic heel pain is high.

But after five weeks in a cast for his achilles tendon rupture, my boss decided he simply couldn’t bear to be hampered a day longer. He pulled off his own cast, and sprung out of the door, ready for another day at the hospital. He didn’t get as far as his car before he had ruptured his tendon all over again. Proving impatience is the surgeon’s true achilles heel.

Gabriel Weston is a surgeon and author of Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Mapping the body: pituitary gland

August 11, 2011

The pituitary gland (circled)

There’s a small gland located at the base of the brain,sitting in a small bone cavity that secretes hormones essential for hundreds of activities within the human body. When these hormones are released by the pituitary gland , they enter the blood directly. The field of medicine that deals with the disorders of glands and its treatment is called endocrinology. The pituitary gland is divided into a anterior lobe, intermediate lobe, and posterior lobe. The anterior lobe is responsible for releasing growth hormone,prolactin,ACTH,FSH,TSH, and LH. The intermediate lobe releases melanocyte-stimulating hormone that is important in determinating pigmentation of the skin. The posterior lobe releases ADH and oxytocin. The vocabulary above can be challenging for most of us but can be mastered in time, any questions should be directed to your family physician.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Mapping the body: pituitary gland” was written by Gabriel Weston, for The Guardian on Monday 8th August 2011 20.00 UTC

Only once did I waver in my desire to become a surgeon; when I briefly flirted with training as an endocrinologist – a doctor specialising in hormone diseases, including those affecting the pituitary gland.

Often referred to as “the master gland” because of the crucial role it plays in regulating other hormone- producing centres, the pituitary is no bigger than a pea. It sits in a small, bony cave at the base of the skull and is connected to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus by the pituitary stalk.

During my first month as a medical student, I met a lady with a rare disease caused by a tumour of the pituitary gland, who sparked in me a temporary obsession with acromegaly. The James Bond villain Jaws has the classic symptoms of this disorder; in which too much growth hormone produces excessive growth of the body’s soft tissues.

Parts of the face enlarge and the hands and feet become giant. Such obvious deformities are matched by abnormalities of the internal organs, including the heart and bowel. Although acromegaly can, in some cases, be treated with medicine or radiotherapy, my patient ended up having her pituitary tumour removed.

The neurosurgeon worked via the nostril, gaining access to the bony cave by tunnelling through the sphenoid sinus (a bony cavity of the skull). The dangers are enormous because the gland sits among the optic nerves and the arteries supplying and draining blood from the brain; any slip of the hand could result in a patient’s immediate blindness or death. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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