Dingman Watch: surgery that makes the perfectly healthy wince

It looks like Craig Dingman is in fact going to have surgery on his shoulder, something that should surprise no one, given the fact that he tore a freaking artery up there. The Freep is saying that the surgery involves “transplanting a vein from his leg to his shoulder”. Eeek.

I assume that this is referring to a saphenous vein transplant, which is a complicated but not entirely uncommon procedure where part of the saphenous vein (in the patient’s own leg; it’s big, and relatively near the surface) is grafted into the target area in order to reconstruct the damaged artery. Arterial reconstruction via graft has been an established medical practice since at least the early 1900s, but the dangers are obviously still present. The graft can be rejected (although this is less likely to happen with your own vein than a donor vein, or an artificial graft) or could get infected, edema (fluid accumulation and swelling) might occur in the area of leg from which the vein is harvested, fistulae (leaks) can occur around the graft, there could be clotting, etc.

There’s quite a bit of information floating around out there on vein transplant for arterial reconstruction, but most of what I found involved arterial reconstruction for liver or kidney problems. There was some stuff about using the saphenous vein to reconstruct arteries also in the leg, in order to save a limb endangered by reduced blood flow. But I couldn’t find anything (in my admittedly very cursory overview– remember, me dumb art student, me no med student) on a procedure quite like Dinger’s, where the saphenous vein was harvested for use in reconstructing a torn artery in the shoulder.

I wish they’d tell us which artery exactly it is that he’s torn, and to be frank I’m still somewhat confused as to how he managed to tear the damn thing in the first place. The Freep says that “there’s no record of any North American pitchers having the surgery,” but even more than that it seems like there’s very little record of pretty much anyone having it. Maybe if we had more info I’d know where to look for more relevant related cases and we’d find that it’s not so rare as all that, but from just what we’ve been told so far it really does look like this is an extraordinary injury.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO THE TIGERS? Why? Why can’t we have someone have a nice straightforward deer meat-related injury over here?

Oh, and I’d like to thank Detroit News photographer Morris Richardson II. Thank you, Mr. Richardson. Thanks to you, I am now going to have screaming nightmares for at least a week. Good grief. Talk about a baby-eating grin.

However, Mr. Richardson, this sort of thing somewhat redeems you.

8 responses to “Dingman Watch: surgery that makes the perfectly healthy wince

  1. Samela, I said the same thing when I read your original blog on Dingman’s injury: That man’s gonna need a saphenous vein transplant.
    Oh yeah, watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘House,’ and ‘Scrubs’ has taught me a lot of medical $#!+.
    And you know it’s almost spring when shots of Inge’s @$$ start blossoming on the Tigers blogs…

  2. clearly pudge eats babies. lots and lots of babies,

  3. Okay, I’m beginning to feel bad about this “Samela” thing. I was kidding. It was “my” nickname. If I try not to use it for the rest of the month, maybe that’ll flush the system. Kind of like giving stuff up for Lent.

  4. […] Greg Eno has been taking a look back at Tiger days of yore. Today he details the ridiculously powerful team from 1991 and earlier in the week he took a look back at Sparky Anderson. Samela takes an extensive look at Craig Dingman’s artery graft surgery, and Lee has aggregated the projections for the Tiger starters. […]

  5. […] Greg Eno has been taking a look back at Tiger days of yore. Today he details the ridiculously powerful team from 1991 and earlier in the week he took a look back at Sparky Anderson. Samela takes an extensive look at Craig Dingman’s artery graft surgery, and Lee has aggregated the projections for the Tiger starters. […]

  6. OK, the Samela stuff is just getting out of control now. DAMN TIGERS FANS. :P
    Ian, I actually don’t watch any of those shows. I’d probably like them if they were more technical and less drama-oriented, but then again I’m insane. And Brandon Inge’s posterior is a seasonal gift of nature, far be it from me to suppress it.
    Babies: the other, other white meat.

  7. WHY DO I ALWAYS CLICK ON THE SCARY LINKS? It’s like when someone goes, “This is disgusting, try it,” and I’m all, “Okay!” Someday, I will learn.

  8. […] Artery repairs generally involve taking part of a bit of some other blood vessel (usually from the leg; I went into that in a lot more detail when I wrote about Dingman’s surgery). So Rogers needed to have this done in two separate stretches of the same artery, basically? What the heck kind of clot WAS this? UBERCLOT? CLOTZILLA?? […]

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