Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's that noise?

A few months ago, I had a patient whose x-rays needed to be read by a radiologist. So, I went to my old radiology professor. This patient had an implant to help with his erectile dysfunction. I knew about it because I had taken a thorough history. So, it was no surprise when I saw it on the x-ray film when I processed it.

My professor took the films out of the sleeve, put them up on his view box, and flicked on the back light.

"Oh wow. I haven't seen one of those in awhile."

Everyone in the office gathers around him. "Can anyone tell me what that is? Dr. Jethro, don't say anything."

A few seconds go by and no one said a word. So, my professor spoke up.

"That is an implant to help this patient with erectile dysfunction."

One person asked, "Why is the bulk of it on his leg?"

"That's where he has to pump it up."

Then, my old professor told us that seeing this device reminded him of a funny story. Years ago, he saw a patient with a similar implant. He had to run some imaging on the patient to repair the device. My old prof asked the patient whether the device was broken. The patient responded with, "Sort of".

"Sort of? What does that mean?"

"Well doc, let me show you."

Each time he pressed to pump up the implant, there was a loud squeaking sound.

"Doc, it's a real mood killer."