Animals Video

A 250lb orangutan underwent an intense five-hour-long surgery in order to have his appendix taken out.

Ben, a 40-year-old male orangutan, had to have an emergency appendectomy performed by surgeons after they noticed that the ape appeared lethargic, uncomfortable and uninterested in his food.

After medical treatments did not cure the animal, Ben, who is housed at Brookfield Zoo, underwent an extensive examination where he had blood tests, ultrasounds, CAT scans – which diagnosed him with peritonitis, an inflammation of the peritoneum, and appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix.

Once determining his diagnosis, 15 members of veterinary staff immediately started the five-hour long operation on the primate and removed the ruptured appendix without any complications.

A recheck examination just weeks later confirmed that Ben’s problems were fully resolved and that the surgical incision was fully healed.

Drs. Eric Yang, a general surgeon who also performed this procedure on many humans, said: “It was a great experience for me and the surgery team from AMITA Health.

“The opportunity to help Ben was unique, similar to operating on a child, except that Ben is a 250 pound orangutan!

“We were impressed with the level of care, concern, and professionalism on display by the zoo’s team.”

Dr. Michael Adkesson, Vice Principal of Chicago Zoological Society, said: “Appendicitis is the same surgical emergency in an orangutan as it would be in a person.

“Ben’s surgery was more critical than a routine appendectomy because the disease had progressed.

“Animals tend to conceal their pain and discomfort better than people in order to survive in the wild.

“So, we are extremely grateful to the staff at AMITA Health for arranging their schedules to join our team in performing the surgery on Ben in a moment’s notice.”