PITTSBURGH - A team of surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center today stunned the scientific community with a new breakthrough that could change the finances of American medicine: a first-ever appendix transplant.

A team, working under renowned surgeon Eddie Chang Maloney and noted medical budget director Gerhard Gundelsmen, successfully transplanted a new appendix into an 11-year-old Coraopolis girl. The girl’s previous appendix had been lost due to appendicitis, an affliction still prevalent among youngsters and adolescents. The nine-hour procedure began late last night after a donor appendix became available from a 52-year-old Mt. Lebanon man who died awaiting a new liver.

“This is a milestone in both the annals of both medicine and medical accounting,” an exhausted but clearly giddy Dr. Maloney told a packed news conference at UPMC’s media lounge. “There are literally millions of people out there, some in their 80s, some as young as little Kathy, the girl we operated on, who have been waiting for new appendixes since their childhoods. Likewise, there are literally thousands of young doctors just leaving medical school, burdened beyond their means with educational debts, for whom this breakthrough could make the difference between driving a Chevrolet or driving a Beemer. This is a win-win for both the medical side of medicine and the increasingly important financial side of medicine.”

Medical experts have expressed concerns in recent years over what they view as a precipitous decline in appendectomies, noting that the emergence of new, highly effective antibiotics that in many cases allow sufferers to weather appendicitis without surgery. This decline was viewed as “unacceptable, a genuine public health financial issue” by experts writing in The Journal of Medical Investment last year. Yesterday’s transplant suggests that, while the decline in appendectomies might not reverse itself in the near-term, the availability of hundreds of thousands of potential appendix recipients provides a chance to stem what some medical experts have seen as a dangerous decline in billable surgeries.

“This long medical scourge can now be ended,” said Dr. Maloney. “For too many years, young physicians have been casting around for some way to make financial ends meet. At last, we have the opportunity. I call on the transplantation community to keep a sharp eye out for head injury victims without little scars on their lower abdomens. Someone’s in-ground pool could rest in the balance.”