Orangutan weighing 18st undergoes five-hour op to remove ruptured appendix

A 250lb orangutan underwent an intense five-hour-long surgery in order to have his appendix taken out.

Ben, a 40-year-old male orangutan, had to have an emergency appendectomy performed by surgeons after they noticed that the ape appeared lethargic, uncomfortable and uninterested in his food.

Ben, a 40-year-old orangutan at Brookfield Zoo, received an emergency appendectomy
Infection-free, Ben will soon have access to his habitat at the zoo’s ‘Tropic World: Asia’ exhibit

After medical treatments did not cure the animal, Ben, who is housed at Brookfield Zoo, in Chicago, underwent an extensive examination.

He had blood tests, ultrasounds, CAT scans and was diagnosed with peritonitis, an inflammation of the peritoneum, and appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix.

After determining his diagnosis, 15 members of veterinary staff immediately started the five-hour long operation and removed the ruptured appendix without any complications.

A recheck examination weeks later confirmed Ben’s problems were fully resolved and that the surgical incision had fully healed.

Dr Eric Yang, a general surgeon who has performed this procedure on humans, said: “The opportunity to help Ben was unique, similar to operating on a child, except that Ben is a 250 pound orangutan!

“We were impressed with the level of care, concern, and professionalism on display by the zoo’s team.”

The appendix has no essential function in humans or orangutans
General surgeons had performed the procedure on many of their human patients
The surgery was performed by members of the Chicago Zoological Society’s veterinary staff as well as medical personnel from AMITA Health Hinsdale and La Grange



 

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