A woman from the Bronx has received a new windpipe in a never-done-before tracheal transplant surgery, NPR reports. Up until recently, Sonia Sein, 55, had a tube down her throat to help her breathe after her trachea was damaged in a severe asthma attack. Four years ago, she contacted a team of doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital to help her but the procedure was not yet ready to be tested on humans. After multiple attempts at the procedure, Dr. Eric Genden successfully performed an 18-hour transplant earlier this year. Even now, Sein’s body is adjusting to the donor’s trachea and is generating new cells inside of it, Genden said.
Dr. Alec Patterson, Genden’s former mentor, said the surgery was “promising,” but he doesn't believe it’s a “practical option for patients who have a tracheal tumor.” However, people who have damaged tracheas would be suitable for the procedure.