The 14 Most WTF Medical Procedures That Inexplicably Exist

Think medicine has come a long way? Think again!

March 1, 2017
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Bizarre medical procedures have been around since, well, pretty much forever. And you’d expect that as you go back further in time, the operations would get weirder because people didn’t have the knowledge or the technology that we do today.

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Case in point? The hemiglossectomy, which was done in medieval Europe, involved a portion of the tongue being removed to eliminate stuttering and other speech impediments. Thankfully, by the 17th century they stopped doing it.

More recently, in the 1940s, lobotomies were performed on psychiatric patients. During this operation a part of the brain was cut out in order to heal the patient from psychiatric disorders; unfortunately, it often left these people in vegetative states. Much to many patients’ relief, this technique faded out by 1950.

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In the 21st century, you would expect medical procedures to have drastically improved. For the most part, they have. But that’s not to say that all is completely normal these days. Here are the 14 most messed up, shake-your-head-at medical operations that are still being done today…

Tooth in Your Eye

Yup, you read that right! The procedure calls for implanting a person’s tooth in their eye in order to possibly help them regain their eyesight. It’s a real thing and it’s called osteo-odonto-keratoprothesis (OOKP).

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Getty Images News / Joe Raedle

A tooth is removed and a piece of tissue is taken from it. It’s then grown in the person’s body for months—sometimes in the cheek—and is then implanted in the eye to help facilitate the healing of a damaged cornea.

Sharron Thornton, shown above, had her eyesight restored through this wacky operation. Weird stuff… but guess what! Apparently it works!

Head Transplant

No seriously. There’s a procedure to help you get a new head if, well, you lost yours, or yours is no good anymore!

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In the past the procedure has been iffy because attaching a spinal column proved to be a bit troublesome. But the researchers at a neuro group in Italy have been busy in the labs and have reported their first successful working head transplant. That’s something to think about.

Pelvis Sawing

If it sounds pretty harsh, it’s because it is. It’s got a fancy name and it’s called a symphysiotomy. Though it first was advocated in the late 16th century, some genius doctors in 20th century Ireland got the bright idea that bringing this procedure back would be a good idea. It wasn’t.

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Photo courtesy of Survivors of Symphysiotomy

A symphysiotomy involves cutting the pelvis during childbirth was better than a C-section and helped women to (get this) have an “easier childbirth.” Unfortunately, the procedure can cause death, leave a woman paralyzed or at the least in severe pain for the rest of her life.

A 2012 exposé documentary claimed that some 1,500 women underwent this procedure throughout the second half of the 20th century. In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that the practice breached the women’s rights to freedom from inhuman treatment and torture; the Irish government responded by investigating and establishing the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme to compensate survivors for their injuries.

Fecal Transplant

We know what you’re thinking—why in the heck would you need someone else’s poo inside of you? And the reason is that it can save your life.

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Getty Images Entertainment / Matt Cardy

Research has shown that if you suffer from being sick from the bacteria Clostridium difficile you can die. Antibiotics seem to rarely help because they kill off good bacteria as well as bad. Placing new, healthy poop (with its healthy bacteria) in your intestines can help you fight the disease naturally and effectively. Gross, but it’s worth it to save your life.

Bee Sting Therapy

Most of us go out of our ways to avoid getting nasty stings by bees while some people are paying to have hundreds bite them at one time! The procedure is called Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) and it’s done wonders for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain.

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Getty Images News / Matt Cardy

When a bee stings it sends a message to your body to release hormones that relieve inflammation and pain. The pain relief isn’t localized and can successfully temporarily treat issues all over the body.

Trepanning

This one actually sounds better than it is. This procedure involves the scraping or drilling of a patient’s brain in order to treat intracranial diseases.

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Museo Nacional del Prado

It dates back 8,000 years ago as depicted through the drawings in caves of our ancestors drilling into their heads with primitive tools. Some surgeons these days use the procedure to treat things like hematomas, but others self-administer it with the hopes that it will cure migraines and seizures. Don’t believe us? Check out the International Trepanation Advocacy Group.

The G Shot

Want more vavoom in the bedroom? There’s a shot for that! The famous (and interestingly labeled) “G Shot” is considered a “lunchtime” procedure and involves an injection of hyaluronan (a collagen filler found in skincare products) to a woman’s private areas, in order to heighten that kind of pleasure.

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AFP / ALEXEY SAZONOV

Patients seem to be quite happy and have reported amazing experiences. It lasts for up to four months and can be yours for only $1,000.

Eyelash Transplants

Who needs fake eyelashes when you can grow your own? Hair is taken from the back of your head and attached to your eyelids to make them fuller and thicker.

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Getty Images News / Koichi Kamoshida

Unlike the fake option, though, transplant hairs contain DNA and will grow just like regular hair. You must trim them periodically or suffer hair knots, tangles, or just weirdly long eyelashes.

Palm Line Alterations

Not happy with the fate that life has given you? There’s an operation for that!

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You can head on over to Japan where a plastic surgeon uses an electric scalpel to “re-define” new lines of your choice that can head you karmically in a new direction.

Prelamination

Many people thank the heavens that this weird procedure exists today! Say you’re outside playing with your friend and his pit bull takes a chunk out of your ear. What do you do? Good news! Your body can actually GROW you a new one.

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AFP / STR

The procedure is called prelamination and it’s actually been around for centuries. Soft tissue is used from other parts of your body and constructed in multiple layers on another part to allow it to grow into a makeshift, look-alike organ. Once the growing is completed and the look attained, the finished reconstructed tissue is transplanted to the correct area.

Tongue Splitting

This one is for all the snake lovers out there. Known as tongue bifurcation (or forking), this procedure disgustingly involves the use of a scalpel, laser, or fishing line to split the tongue in half. Care must be taken to cauterize each half of the tongue to ensure that both sides don’t heal and join back together (heaven forbid).

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Getty Images News / David McNew

Because of the great blood flow, the tongue heals in a week or two, during which time patients have reported difficulty with speech or their normal dietary habits (ya don’t say). If you happen to get a case of “tongue splitting remorse” the procedure is reversible but doctors warn the reversal is even more painful than the tongue splitting procedure.

Dimple Creation

If you always wanted those cute, little indentations in your face, your wish can be granted! This relatively new procedure involves a small, painless incision and dissolvable stitches placed in the desired dimple location.

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After a few weeks the stitches get absorbed and you’re left with “like-you-were-born-with-them” dimples.

Hemispherectemy

This operation involves the removing of a part of the brain to treat disorders like epilepsy and tumors. Sound daunting? Well, there’s good news and bad news.

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The good news is that patients have reported improvement with no effect on personality or memory. The bad news? The procedure is often a last resort option, so if your doctors are suggesting it, you kinda have no choice.

Toe-besity

Got ugly, fat feet? Foot binding be gone! Now there’s a new and improved procedure for your feet problems. It’s known as the “foot face lift” and it’s quickly become a $45 million industry.

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A plastic surgeon will remove the unsightly fat and bone in the feet and toes to make them look more appealing. Doctors can go as far as shortening toes to make the feet look more delicate, but have been known to draw the line at removing a pinky toe in order to fit into tight-fitting shoes.

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