Wednesday, December 27, 2006

After Boxing Day

Yesterday was Boxing Day (and, by the by, the start of Kwanzaa), and I thought I would share with you the contents of one box I received over the holiday weekend. My sister, a cost accountant for medical device manufacturer Micrus Endovascular, obtained for me a MicruSphere MicroCoil (platinum, 3 mm x 5.4 cm). Fear not, gentle reader: I have no intention of using it on anyone, especially since it bears large stickers reading "Not for human use, non sterile" and a tiny printed disclaimer reading "Federal (U.S.A.) law restricts this device to use by or on the order of a licensed physician."

The instructions--which come printed in English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Swedish, and Turkish--nicely sum up that "Micrus MicroCoil Systems are intended for endovascular embolization of intracranial aneurysms." A diagram of a properly laid out saline flush system is included in the system preparation notes, and sixteen photographs illustrate each step of the process of opening, seating, inserting, and retracting the MicroCoil.

It's amazing to see how far neurosurgery has advanced since the death of Harvey Cushing in 1939. It has only been in the past 20-30 years that brain aneurysms have been treated without invasive surgery, and it's wonderful to imagine where we might be in another decade or two. That box might take up even less room under my tree!

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