Tiny Tools

Doctors know operating on children is different than on adults. Now thanks to some tiny tools, life-saving surgeries can be done on even the smallest patients. 7’s Diana Diaz shows us.

WSVN — Little Melaina is an outgoing four-year-old who loves to draw and make castles out of clay, but she kept getting fevers and her parents had no idea why.

Samantha Italiano: “The fevers were, you know, we related them to schooling and just the normal viruses that kids pick up.”

When it spiked to 103, they rushed her to the emergency room.

Melaina Italiano: “I felt a little yucky then I had to throw up.”

A chest X-Ray revealed a huge cyst that was compressing her right lung.

Rocco Italiano: “It was very impressive, very big.”

Doctors told them she needed surgery right away.

Rocco Italiano: “As she grew, it grew with her. So her left lung was compensating for the right lung.”

Pediatric Surgeon Fuad Alkhoury says traditionally they would have to do an open operation.

Dr. Fuad Alkhoury: “Go in and do a big incision on the chest from side to side to try and remove the disease.”

But thanks to what he calls Minimal Access Surgery, the procedure is now much easier.

Dr. Fuad Alkhoury: “The basic premise of minimal access surgery is basically to create a space to work in.”

Using tiny tools like these, surgeons at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital are able to access a small child’s organs with very little risk to the patient.

Dr. Fuad Alkhoury: “Now we can use much smaller instruments with much smaller wound size. Obviously on a baby’s body, that really makes a big difference. This would be my eye during the operation.”

Even the lenses to see inside the body are made much smaller but still pack a lot of power.

Dr. Fuad Alkhoury: “Where we can have a pristine image, almost HD image, in a very very tiny lens.”

Melaina’s surgery took about three hours.

Dr. Fuad Alkhoury: “We were able to remove the entire disease through three small wounds.”

Rocco Italiano: “That evening she was sitting up, she was normal. The nurses were coming in and questioning whether or not she really had surgery.”

Weeks after the operation, Melaina is riding her bike and feeling great.

Samantha Italiano: “She’s no different than she was before all of this happened.”

Her parents are thankful for the tiny tools that made their daughter’s surgery a success.

Doctors say Melaina was born with the lung condition but will now go on to live a healthy, normal life.

In the plex, Diana Diaz, 7News.

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