Irish Surgeon Discovers New Organ
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
February / March 2017
Historic medical discourses all over the world are set to be rewritten now that Irish surgeon J. Calvin Coffey has discovered a new abdominal organ called the mesentery, a finding which could lead to breakthrough improvements in digestive surgery and recovery. Coffey, who serves as a professor of surgery at the University of Limerick’s Graduate Medical School, revealed that the mesentery, formerly believed to be a collection of separate digestive parts, is actually a complete structure that connects the intestine to the abdomen. He published his findings in the November issue of medical journal The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
“During the initial research, we noticed in particular that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one contiguous organ,” Coffey told USA Today. “Up to that, it was regarded as fragmented – present here, absent elsewhere, and a very complex structure. The anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy was incorrect.”
The earliest recorded depiction of the mesentery has been sourced to Leonardo DaVinci, who portrayed it (correctly) as contiguous. This understanding was later usurped by the work of English surgeon Frederick Treves in 1885, whose description of the mesentery as disconnected was, until now, taken for medical gospel.
Although the specific digestive function of the mesentery has yet to be determined, the University of Limerick has planned extensive research on this newly-reclassified organ that is expected result in fewer invasive surgeries, lower procedural fees, and shorter patient recovery times. ♦