Tech News Around the North

New Surgical Alternative

for Breast Cancer Patients

REGION – Northern Michigan breast cancer patients now have a state-of-the-art alternative that uses the patient's own tissue for breast reconstruction instead of the standard procedure, which relies on an artificial implant.

Surgeons from The Center for Plastic Surgery at Copper Ridge recently performed a successful Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction on a mastectomy patient. Unlike some procedures, the DIEP does not require removal of abdominal muscles, but borrows skin and tissue from the patient's abdomen through a football-shaped incision, similar to a tummy tuck, and allows active women to remain active.

"Those who choose to have an artificial breast implant can expect to replace the implant several times during their lifetimes, approximately every 15 years," says Dr. Christopher C. Jeffries, who studied the procedure at Indiana University and in Belgium. "By contrast, the DIEP procedure can be permanent."

Dr. Jeffries and Dr. Steven V. Thomas, along with the surgical team at Munson Medical Center, performed the seven-hour surgery on April 30. The patient was discharged only three days later and is doing well. Until now the DIEP procedure was only available in a few, largely academic, medical centers in Michigan.

In 2008 there were more than 79,000 breast reconstructions performed in the United States – a 39 percent increase over 2007, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Chateau Chantal Uses Gravity, Saves Energy

Winemakers at Chateau Chantal are using a new gravity feed system that moves grapes without pumping, resulting in a clearer, cleaner end product.

"We are building a new underground cellar with a sub-cellar below it," explains winemaker Mark Johnson. "The grapes will be brought in on ground level (the parking lot) and fed with a conveyor through an opening on the roof of the cellar."

The grapes then drop through a shoot into either the press or the crusher/destemmer. After crushing or pressing, the winemakers will have the option for the juice to either be pumped to tanks or barrels on the same level or to flow with gravity down into barrels in the sub-cellar.

"I don't think that the public will be able to say, "Wow, these wines are really different," says Johnson. "But anytime you can move the grapes without pumping, you end up with less turbidity (solids) in the juice and, hence, a clearer juice and hopefully a cleaner fermentation. Every time you pump juice or wine it really shakes things up and, to a small but not insignificant degree, the wine loses some of its flavor and aromatic components."

Johnson says the new system will also reduce the winery's energy costs and carbon footprint. "All in all, it's not a big thing but more a tweaking of things that will make the wines just a little bit better and our planet just a little bit greener," he says.

WD Web Launches Photoscramble Software

Traverse City's WD Web announces a new service, Photoscramble, an easy online photo contest and print software designed to generate website traffic and new customers. The software taps into the general camera mania and works with photos taken by cell phones, point and shoots and professional cameras, optimizing photo sharing.

WD Web's target market? Savvy companies eager to re-invest and re-invent their online businesses via e-commerce strategies, including updating websites, preparing for mobile commerce and tapping into the new and exploding social media.

Companies, organizations, associations, non-profits and individuals can use the software to craft and create photo contests to attract web traffic, target marketing insights, revenue or social media buzz. BN

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