4 Reasons Why The Czechs Are Medical Pioneers

Golden Czech Hands And Clever Czech Heads

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Dallas Wiens, 25, was severely injured when his head touched a high-voltage electrical wire while working inside a cherry picker.

Zlaté české ručičky a chytré české hlavičky is an old Czech proverb, meaning “golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.” In 2011, a team of surgeons gathered around an operating table in Boston, Massachusetts to perform the nation’s first (and world’s third) full facial transplant. Lead by renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the patient’s nose, palate, upper lip, and facial skin, muscles, and nerves was successfully replaced with those of a deceased donor. Born in former Czechoslovakia, Dr. Pomahac’s groundbreaking achievements in plastic surgery are celebrated universally and abroad. As for the rest of the medical community, the newly named, “Czechia”, is setting the bar extra high when it comes to performance and innovation.

In a country known more for its medieval castles, hockey, and of course, beer, the Czechs are just as serious about their medical contributions. Check out 4 ways the Czechs are ahead of the game:  

1. The “Heart” Of Europe

Faithfully beating more than 100,000 times a day, the heart is unquestionably one of our most vital organs. Landlocked between Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic is often referred to as “The Heart of Europe”

Appropriately, the Czechs are world leaders in cardiac surgery; performing the country’s first successful heart transplant in 1984. Recognized for their excellent system of healthcare for those suffering from acute coronary symptoms- especially the treatment and prevention of heart attacks- the Czech Republic is also home to state-of-the-art cardiovascular centers as well as some of the world’s top cardiac specialists.

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Da Vinci Xi. The widely universal word “robot” was first coined by Czech brother Karel and Josef Čapek.

Since 2005, Prague’s Na Homolce hospital has been using robotic technology to assist in various surgeries, including cardiac. In 2016, they added a new, upgraded member to their surgical team. His name? Da Vinci Xi. Controlled by a human surgeon, Da Vinci Xi’s mechanical arms offer precision that would not otherwise be possible.

2. Second Chances 

In 1932, the Czech Republic became the first country in the world to recognize plastic surgery as an independent branch of medicine. Many Czech surgeons, including Dr. Pomahač, have received international acclaim; and their success is no accident. After a minimum of 6 years at an accredited university, medical students must pass a rigorous series of exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. It can be nearly a decade before they ever perform an operation.

While working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Pomahač became increasingly interested in the subject of face transplants. In 2009, the first partial face transplant was successfully completed in France. Four years later, Dr. Pomahač and his surgical team performed a 17-hour operation to reconstruct the severely disfigured face of James Maki, age 59. In 2011, Dr. Pomahač led a team of 30 physicians, nurses and anesthesiologists for more than 15 hours to complete the first full transplant in the USA (see photo above).

3. Fighting Infertility

Since 1978, nearly 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility treatment- specifically IVF. In
1984, the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) became one of the first countries to pioneer In Vitro Fertilization and facilitate a successful birth.

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As of 2017, the Czech Republic is home to over 30 fertility clinics and centers.

According to NHS, 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving. Determined to help millions of men and women realize their dream of starting a family, the Czechs continue to invest a fortune in comprehensive IVF centers and extensive reproduction procedures. Today, they rank among the highest IVF success rates; 70 % in cases involving donated eggs. Czech legislation also plays a critical role in the rapidly growing field. It permits anonymous donation and the option to choose the physical characteristics of the donated egg or sperm in order to prevent serious genetic diseases.

As a result, the Czech Republic attracts thousands of couples from around the world coming for “IVF Holidays”. Significantly cheaper than treatment in the United States or the UK, IVF prices can start as low as 2500 Euros and egg donation from 3800 Euros. The Czechs offer affordable options without compromising safety and quality.

4. In Utero 

Approximately 1 in every 5,000 women is born without a uterus, cervix, and upper vaginal canal. The rarely-discussed, devastating syndrome, MRKH, makes it impossible to carry a fetus to term.

Historically, women with MRKH have had very few options, one of which being a uterus transplant from a live donor. In 2016, Czech doctors from the Prague-based Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) performed the sixth of now thirteen worldwide uterus transplants. Czech experts say that the next step is transplanting from dead donors. For thousands of women, this means the opportunity to carry and give birth.

5 Myths About Cosmetic Surgery You Probably Believe Are True

Cosmetic Surgery: Fact vs. Fiction 

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Breast augmentation is still the most popular procedure for women, with over 1.5 million in 2015.

Cosmetic surgery is a hot-button topic. Ask anyone and they will either tell you it’s the best decision they’ve ever made or swear it off entirely. Whichever side of the fence you find yourself-or maybe the jury’s still out- it’s important to know the facts. Unfortunately, today most news worthy stories regarding cosmetic surgery are either completely ridiculous (and extreme), or centered around celebrities and reality television. And considering that more than 21 million people have a surgical or nonsurgical cosmetic procedure each yeah, we figured it’d be a good idea to shed some light on the facts and debunk the myths:

1. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is the same as plastic surgery  

Believe it or not, the terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are NOT the same. According to Dr. Shahram Salemy, MD, “The use of these terms interchangeably has led to many misconceptions about these procedures.” He adds, “Cosmetic surgery is performed solely for aesthetics and to improve appearance [and] plastic surgery also includes reconstructive surgery to repair birth defects or damages caused by trauma or illness.”

For example, breast reconstruction after breast cancer is considered plastic surgery, while breast augmentation is cosmetic. Very often, the difference lays in the eyes of the insurance companies. Generally, most policies will cover plastic surgery and not cosmetic surgery.

2. The Myth: It is (too) expensive 

Perpetuated by Hollywood’s rich and famous, it’s no wonder us ‘common folk’ believe we could never afford a bosom (among other things) like Kim Kardashian or refined nose like Megan Fox. In the past, this was often true. But today, thanks to a little phenomenon called medical travel, cosmetic surgery is becoming more affordable than ever.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast augmentation in the United States is around $3,678. This price only includes the surgeon’s fee. It does not include the cost of anesthesia, facilities, and materials (stitches, bandages, drapes, etc.). The price will also vary depending on doctor, patient, and region. In the UK this price is between £3,400-£5,000. Now compare that to an all-inclusive breast augmentation in the Czech Republic ($2,645/£2,120) and you’re looking at some serious savings without sacrificing quality.

3. The Myth: Liposuction is a quick, easy way to lose weight 

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“Liposuction” is a medical word for fat removal, but it’s not a treatment for weight loss or obesity.

We’d all love to lipo-away that extra weight we put on during the winter. Unfortunately, liposuction is not the answer- though it can help. Liposuction is NOT the same as bariatric surgery. Therefore it is NOT a weight-loss surgery. Liposuction removes stubborn, unwanted fat from trouble spot on the body (i.e. inner thighs, tummy, back, chin). Before undergoing the procedure, most surgeons require that you be as close to your ‘goal’ or ‘natural’ weight as possible. While lipo helps to slim and contour the body, the results will only last as long as your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

4. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery means “going under the knife”

Topping the charts with 4.6 million procedures per year, Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®) is the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women worldwide. Instead of “going under the knife”, more and more patients are opting to go under the laser or needle. Thanks to new innovative technologies, even traditionally invasive procedures like liposuction have new alternatives, like Coolsculpting®. In 2017, experts predict that non-invasive procedures, like Kybella (an injectable which eliminates double-chins), will continue to grow in popularity. Benefits typically include lower prices, little to no recovery time and only the use of local anesthetics; usually in the form of creams or injectables. Other popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures include: Hyaluronic Acid, Hair Removal, Photo Rejuvenation and Nonsurgical Fat Reduction.

5. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is only for women

By far, women still dominate the cosmetic surgery market. However, in 2015, cosmetic surgeons saw a significant rise in men looking to boost their confidence and improve their image. 3 million to be exact. Recent statistics from the American Plastic Surgery Surgeons reveal that the most popular surgical procedures for men are: Eyelid Surgery, Liposuction, Gynecomastia (male breast reduction), Rhinoplasty and Fat Grafting. 

6. The Myth: The Kardashians have never had cosmetic surgery 

Still waiting for confirmation…