Dr. William Oros, a University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) orthopaedic trauma surgeon, recently performed surgery on a 37-year old Western lowland gorilla with a broken femur. The 385-pound gorilla, named Wanto, broke his leg while climbing bars in his indoor courtyard at the Knoxville Zoo. The zoo’s staff veterinarian Ed Ramsay evaluated Wanto and gave him pain medication to deal with the pain. Once radiographs confirmed the injury as a fracture, Ramsay contacted Dr. Oros for advice, and he volunteered to operate on Wanto himself. (Two years previously, Dr. Oros treated Dr. Ramsay’s broken leg.)
UTMC donated the use of a surgical table for the procedure, which took 3.5 hours to complete — about 2 times longer than the same surgery would take with a person.