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.