Breast implants help save man's life during double lung transplant


Posted at Nov 10 2023 09:34 AM

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For the first time at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, surgeons used an artificial lung and breast implants to save the life of a Missouri man who vaped for years, caught the flu and needed a double-lung transplant when his lungs became infected.

The procedure took place in late May, with surgeons removing 34-year-old David “Davey” Bauer’s infected lungs and creating an artificial lung to help keep him alive, but it wasn't enough on its own.

“You know, when you have no lungs, you have to keep the heart right in the center," said Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine. "One of our plastic surgeons was very gracious to give me a rapid-fire course on what are the different types of breast implants, what are the shapes and all that. So we picked out a couple of them that were more malleable and we could mold them to Davey’s chest."

Dr. Bharat and his team of surgeons placed DD breast implants inside Bauer's chest cavity to keep the heart in place and listed him for a double-lung transplant, finding a match within 24-hours.

Bauer was discharged from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in late September and continues to recover at an optimal pace in Chicago.

"I’m just so grateful, I can’t even put it into words," said Bauer. "I mean they gave me a second chance at life and it’s incredible.”

(Produced by Eric Cox)