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Human and animal surgeons work together to help orangutan

Vicky the orangutan during her operation

An orangutan at Blackpool Zoo is recovering from a special double surgery to help her breathe more easily.

Vicky the Bornean orangutan was operated on by leading human and animal medical experts to have double surgery on her sinuses and lungs.

It's the first time the two procedures have been carried out together simultaneously in the UK.

Jawed Tahery, a surgeon from Nuffield Health, The Grosvenor Hospital in Chester, explained why a surgeon who usually operates on people was able to help Vicky:

'As an ear, nose and throat surgeon I have carried out this procedure many times, but it is very rare to get the opportunity to operate on an animal. The anatomy of an orangutan and a human are similar but the orangutan doesn’t have frontal and ethmoid sinuses and their bones are much harder. 'The aim of the operation was to restore drainage in the sinuses and increase ventilation of the nasal cavity and I am delighted with the results.'

– Jawed Tahery, surgeon
Animal and human surgeons worked together to help Vicky

Karen Archer, a vet at Oakhill Veterinary Centre in Preston who also helped with the operation, said:

'The teamwork between top human and animal medical specialists in this case was the key to its success.'

– Karen Archer, vet

Peter Dillingham, Animal Manager at Blackpool Zoo, added:

'I have been working with Vicky since she was born here at Blackpool Zoo almost 31 years ago and she is very special to everyone here. She has had these two conditions for many years and it has been fantastic to work with such esteemed medical experts to make this procedure a reality. Less than 24 hours after the surgery she was back in with the rest of the orangutans and is recovering well.'

– Peter Dillingham, Blackpool Zoo
The operation was a success and Vicky is now recovering back with her family

Vicky was born at Blackpool Zoo on June 17th 1984.

She is the mother of the two other females in the group, Cherie and Summer and is a very intelligent animal who tends to boss everyone around.

Her favourite food is yogurt and she is best known for flashing visitors her smile, which has been photographed thousands of times!