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Why Did Doctors Cut Woman in Half to Save Her Life?

Three years ago, pregnant 31 year-old Janis Ollson of Manitoba was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a bone cancer that rarely affects young women her age.

The disease wasn’t discovered until her seventh month, when the pain in her back was so severe she could no longer stand it.

After a C-section to deliver her second child, she learned the extent of the cancer. It had spread through several bones, her pelvis, lower spine and into muscle tissue.

The cancer was too advanced for chemotherapy and radiation. Ollson’s only chance for survival was to remove all the cancer from her body.

Per the Winnipeg Free Press:

“But removal, specialists said, might not be the best option. The Toronto specialist said he could remove the tumour but didn't know if she could be put back together. Without a lower spine, half her pelvis and a leg, there was nothing to attach her remaining healthy leg to.”

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN stepped in and asked Ollson to participate in an experimental surgery to remove the tumor. Mayo’s plan was to literally cut her in half, remove her midsection and reassemble her using the bone from her amputated leg.

The Mayo surgeries were a success, and after a great deal of rehabilitation, Ollson is able to use a prosthetic pelvis and leg, wheelchair, crutches or walker to get around depending on what she’s doing and where she’s going.

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