Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ant Head Sutures

I'm reading a book right now called Surviving the Extremes by Dr. Kenneth Kamler. It's about how the human body and mind react to extreme environments, such as high altitudes, jungles, or the open seas. It's really interesting. Dr. Kamler described in detail how he once had to perform a hand surgery in the Amazon jungle when a little boy sliced through a couple of tendons and a nerve while swinging a machete. He was kneeling in about a foot of mud and his assistant sat on a log and held the little boy down while he stitched his nerve and tendons back into place. It was utterly fascinating.

One thing that Dr. Kamler talked about his how he often used the local treatments for illnesses because they were much more practical and available than the supplies he brought with him. One of the treatments was using ant heads to close up lacerations. If someone got a deep cut that would require stitches, you would just take a few army ants (these ants are HUGE, probably about 2 inches long) and hold them close to the cut. The ant would then bite you with their huge "jaws" and close the wound. After they bit you, you would twist the body and pull, leaving you an ant head serving as a nice, little organic suture. You would do this a couple of times to close the whole wound. The nice part about this method, besides the abundance of army ants in the Amazon, is that the heads will fall off on their own -- no need to remove them like normal stitches.

Can you imagine what it would be like to go to the doctor's office now with a cut on your hand, and then the doctor pulled out a huge jar of army ants? That would be so cool!

6 comments:

Kathy Haynie said...

You crack me up. Glad you're reading an interesting book. :)

Patricia said...

Hey Doc Bryan...
Maybe you're on to a new way to do eye surgery!?!

Chris said...

that would be so scary. i wonder if the ant-head sutures would hurt worse than stitches? how do the heads fall off at the right time?

Bryan said...

i'm not sure how they fall out at the right time. i think they stay in for about a day. actually, i just made that up. i have no idea.

Dharam Kothari said...

You can read about this amazing facts more at http://www.omgfactsonline.com/ants-stitch-cut/

chinnu Kumari said...

Yes it is true that ant head are still used as sutures in some parts of the world. It acts as organic as well as emergency sutures.