One in 20 people will need some kind of tissue transplant during their life. Doctors are getting help from pigs to heal everything from hernias to wounds.
Read the full transcript »
Melissa Medley: A few years ago moves like these didn't come easily. Chris Nelson: I was having a lot of pain even standing for an extended periods of time. Melissa Medley: Chris Nelson had a hernia in his groin. The muscle had torn. Instead of using donor tissue, doctors repaired it with material made from the small intestines of pigs. Chris Nelson: It did seem almost like weird science or something like that. Dr. Samer Mattar: Pigs have been a very popular or common animal to use. Believe it or not, their genetic makeup is pretty close to humans. Melissa Medley: When placed on the torn tissue, the body uses the pig part as a scaffold or guide to remodel and repair itself. Over time, the pig's tissue is replaced by human tissue, providing a permanent repair. Dr. Samer Mattar: Over time, it's very hard to distinguish where the graft or the pig's tissues were, versus the patient's. Melissa Medley: Besides hernias, the pig tissue can be used in ulcer repair, wound care, plastic surgery and weight loss surgery. Doctors say, compared to a human donor, the pig tissue has less risk of causing an allergic reaction. Chris Nelson: No pain whatsoever, it's great. Melissa Medley: Chris is back at his game. Chris Nelson: Well, I would say my game is getting better, but I wouldn't probably be honest at that point. Melissa Medley: But he is satisfied with simply feeling better. I am Melissa Medley reporting.
Copyright © 2005 - 2014 Healthline Networks, Inc. All rights reserved for Healthline.