Fecal Transplant: Grey's Anatomy Plotline or Real-Life Medical Treatment?

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Grey’s Anatomy is known for its dramatic plotlines and medical dilemmas. Many viewers might wonder if the medical conditions and treatments discussed on the hit series are exaggerated for ratings and drama or if they are real-life issues. One of the medical treatments discussed on the show was the use of a fecal transplant to treat a medical condition resulting from a loss of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. This treatment sounds so far-fetched that it couldn’t possibly be real; you might be surprised to know that this is a real medical treatment that has been shown to have surprisingly positive results. Keep reading to learn more about this treatment and the conditions it is used for in the medical field.

Fecal Transplant Defined

The fecal transplant is actually the use of bacteria from the feces of a healthy donor. Bacteria are cultivated from the feces and introduced into the recipient’s digestive tract via the use of enemas or a nasogastric tube. This procedure is repeated for a period of five to ten days and the patient is kept in the hospital for constant monitoring. Once the fecal transplant has been carried out, the patient must continue to get regular medical care for up to a year following the procedure to prevent complications.

Fecal Transplant Uses

The fecal transplant is most successfully used in treating cases of irritable bowel syndrome, colitis caused by C. difficile, and ulcerative colitis. When someone is affected by these conditions, the healthy balance of bacteria in the intestine is disrupted. The theory behind the use of the fecal transplant is that the fecal bacteria obtained from a healthy donor can be used to restore this balance and improve the health of someone suffering from these conditions.

Fecal Transplant Results

The use of fecal transplant has been shown to be highly effective in treating cases of C. difficile, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. The success rate in treating C. difficile is as much as ninety-five percent, leading to improved outcomes in patients suffering from this condition. Additionally, this treatment reduces the risk of a patient developing antibiotic resistance.

Fecal Transplant Reference Materials

CBC News Service. “Don’t Poo-Poo Technique: Fecal Transplant Can Cure Superbug, Doctors Say.” Published November 13, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2008 from https://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/11/13/fecal-transplant.html

Pharma Gazette. “Would You Undergo a Fecal Transplant?” Published November 15, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2008 from https://www.pharmagazette.com/2007/11/would_you_undergo_a_fecal_tran.html