Patient Education

“Mirror Man” with Reversed Internal Organs

"Mirror Man", also referred to as situs inversus in medicine, is a congenital condition in which the arrangement of a person's internal organs is reversed, like a mirror image of the normal anatomy, such as the heart is on the right side while liver is on the left side. It is a very rare condition, about one in every million people.

Recently, SAHZU colorectal surgeon Dr. WANG Da met such a “Mirror Man” and performed the radical resection of colorectal cancer on him.

微信图片_20220608104724.jpgMr. CHEN's Chest Image / Photo Courtesy of Dr. WANG Da

Three months ago, Mr. CHEN started to have bloated stomach often and stringy stool, and later bloody stool. Noticing something might not be right, Mr. CHEN had a CT scan at a local hospital which showed a lump in his rectum that is likely cancerous. Because of his special condition, local doctors recommended Mr. CHEN for further endoscopic examination in a tertiary hospital.  

Mr. CHEN then had a colonoscopy at SAHZU, during which the lump of 8 cm in diameter located in the upper part of his rectum is confirmed to be malignant. It is this tumor that obstructed Mr. CHEN’s bowels and caused bloating, bloody stool and other symptoms.  

Although Mr. CHEN’s rectal cancer is in the advanced stage, but luckily it has not metastasized. Surgical removal is still possible.

But for surgeons, performing surgeries on the “Mirror Man” is very challenging. Dr. WANG Da, however, rose up to the challenge and performed the laparoscopic radical resection of rectal cancer for Mr. CHEN. According to Dr. WANG Da, risks of surgeries on the “Mirror Man” are much higher, as the reversed arrangement of internal organs is completely different from surgeons’ traditional anatomy knowledge, and greatly affects their procedure habits. “I have to think ‘reversely' all the time and be more cautious than usual. Every maneuver I made must be very accurate and precise."

Situs inversus is often related to autosomal recessive genes. Patients with situs inversus are no different from others in terms of their health conditions, except relatively higher incidence of congenital heart diseases. Many of them are not aware of their conditions until having imaging tests. Due to the complete inversion of the organs and even anatomical variations, for this group of patients, the symptoms and signs of their disease are also in the opposite position and easy to be misdiagnosed.


Author: LI JING | Reviewer: CHEN LU | Editor: LI JING | Source: SAHZU OFFICIAL WECHAT | Date:2022-06-08 | Views:

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