A funny thing

Happened the other day in surgery.  We had a dog presented for spay in our student program, and she was discovered to have a large (3 by 2 by 1 inch) lump on her gum under her tongue.  It was attached by a very narrow stalk, but it was a very tough, fibrous attachment to the interdental space (inter=between, dental space=tooth gap).  A quick conference of the minds lead us to decide to remove it surgically before we continued onto the spay.  Since it was odd, I asked one of my students to take some pictures with my camera in “macro” mode (one never knows when close up high resolution photos of things icky might be useful for a lecture or a dull cocktail party).  Proceeding with the lump dissection, I encountered a bit of a snag;  I couldn’t fit a scalpel blade in the interdental space, where the root of the mass was originating.  And I couldn’t send for the laser for a while.  What to do?

You should know that surgery is sometimes a bit extemporaneous, and often quite physical.  Orthopaedics comes to mind.  In some surgeries, deft digital manipulation is the key to good outcome.  Or, sometimes, ya’ gotta’ rip it out.

Back to our mouth mass.  Having determined that our mass wanted to exit the mouth, but was temporarily unyielding to use of surgical tools, I began to stretch the attachment of the mass to the gum.  The three students watching were slightly troubled by the sound of stretching connective tissue;  my camera-wielding student was in close by my right shoulder, when the mass abruptly exited the stage, and somewhat forcibly ricocheted off the left hand of my photographer (I thought I had a better grip on it, really!).

We proceeded to the spay with our students, and at the end of the procedure, used a laser to finish the removal of the mass’s stalk.  It looks like it will be good news for the doggie, best news of all is that this sweet little pit mix has a great home.

Gingival MassProjectile

2 Responses to “A funny thing”

  1. Barbara A. says:

    Very nice blog, Dr. Moyer.

    What on earth did that “tumor” turn out to be? I hope you update as time permits.

  2. Michael Moyer says:

    Thank you for asking; it turned out to be a benign tumor called an ossifying epulis. She is doing well in her new home.

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