10 Stories of Crazy Self-Surgeries + How to Perform Them Yourself
Do you have what it takes to save your own life, or perhaps even your sanity? Maybe save a buck or two in the process? If you think you do, read on, but I warn you—if you're prone to vasovagal syncope, i.e. fainting at the sight of blood, maybe you better skip this one. But if you can stand a little pain and control your heart rate Hannibal Lector-style, then you might just be able to perform a few life-saving, cost-effective self-surgeries.
It almost sounds like a Chuck Palahniuk novel, where multiple characters trade in rationale for lunacy, where you never know what's going to happen. Life or death. Happiness or misery. Someone giving themself a life-saving tracheotomy or someone performing his own bilateral orchiectomy to stave off any future failed attempts at sexual intercourse.
And if you were wondering, that last part was true.
A seriously disturbed male who "involuntarily" masturbated three or four times a day began to believe his body and nervous system were being destroyed. After three humiliating sexual experiences when he was 21, he sought out a bilateral orchiectomy, i.e. removal of both testicles, in an attempt to prevent his sexual cravings.
He was denied.
Instead, he self-medicated with estrogens, norethindrone acetate, and hydrocortisones to decrease his sexual thoughts. Furthermore, he created an anti-testosterone cocktail that landed him in the hospital. Then, the psychiatric ward. Nearly six months after his release, he performed a bilateral transscrotal orchiectomy on himself.
It lasted 8 hours.
But in his quest for asexuality, his libido still remained. Two months later, he attempted a transabdominal denervation of his adrenal glands to cut off the catecholamines circulating throughout his glands, which he thought were the cause of his "mental illness".
His attempt was nearly successful, thanks to his extensive self-taught surgical skills. He would spend hours on end in the medical library familiarizing himself with medical concepts, studying surgical texts, and writing his own DIY guide to self-surgery.
In his report, Dr. Ned H. Kalin said, "This patient's self-taught understanding of medical concepts is impressive, not to mention his application of this knowledge," and in comparison to four other genital self-surgery attempts, "...none of these patients seemed as well prepared or skilled in their surgical technique."
If you want to see how it was done, check out the illustrated DIY instructions below—just in case you feel the urge to de-nerve yourself. It outlines 10 self-performed surgical procedures based on real patient experience. Aside form denervation, you'll learn how to perform a self-inflicted tracheotomy, trepanation, appendectomy, caesarean section, inguinal hernia repair, lithotomy, and 3 self-amputations for hand and arms.
Would you have the nerve to try any of these out, if you actually needed to? I can't say that I would. Well, maybe if I found myself trapped under a huge boulder like Aron Ralston, but I'll think I'll definitely pass on the denervation one.