Laparoscopic Procedure A First For A Public Hospital (PDH)

Photo: Ms Teresa Herring & Mr Phil Gan, Surgeon
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
A Broadwater woman has made a quick recovery after becoming the first person to be operated on at a public hospital in Australia with a new range of miniature instruments.

The procedure using Percuvance laparoscopic, or keyhole, instruments was carried out by visiting Warrnambool surgeon Mr Phil Gan at Portland District Health on April 24.

Patient Teresa Herring said she had made a better than expected recovery after having her gallbladder removed with only one camera port and two of the Percuvance instruments.

Within 12 hours I felt I could have gone home and I was up and pottering around the house a couple of days after the surgery, she said.

Ms Herring said she had some aches after the surgery but nothing to do with the wounds. I couldn't even work out where they were.

Laparoscopy is where abdominal operations are performed using a type of camera called a laparoscope to see inside the abdomen. The surgeon looks at a television monitor and the internal organs are operated on using long instruments which the surgeon controls from outside the body. These instruments enter the abdomen through laparoscopic ports.

Mr Gan said patients recover from laparoscopic surgery much faster and have less pain and smaller scars than from traditional laparotomies, where surgeons maker a large incision and operate inside the abdomen.

Mr Gan has become the first surgeon in Australia to use this new equipment to further minimise the port incisions. Usually one bigger port is needed to insert a camera and for organ removal, but there is a lot of scope to make the other incisions much smaller, he said.

The bigger incision you make, the more it hurts, so we are reducing the number of incisions and using smaller ports.

Mr Gan has recently introduced the Percuvance instruments made by USA-based medical device company Teleflex. They are 2.9mm in diameter and are inserted through a tiny skin incision without a port. After insertion into the abdomen, the tip of the instrument is brought out through the camera port and the surgeon can choose from a range of normal sized laparoscopic instrument tips to attach to the tip. This is then pulled back into the abdomen and used like a normal laparoscopic instrument.

The Percuvance has a cross sectional area which is about 12 per cent of the smallest standard laparoscopic port. The incisions don't even need to be stitched, Mr Gan said.

The range of devices has been released through selected centres in the USA, then Europe.

Mr Gan became the first person to use them in Australia at private hospital St John of God Warrnambool and Portland District Health. South West Healthcare has also approved use of Percuvance.

Mr Gan has been operating in Portland for about three years and said he said appreciated its support for surgical innovation and technology.

Portland is an important part of my practice in providing a timely service to public patients and the theatre staff are very professional and supportive, he said.

Mr Gan hopes to introduce the minimally invasive approaches for other surgical procedures, such as bowel resections, hernia repairs and weight loss surgery.

If we can get patients recovering faster, it's good for the patients and for healthcare delivery, he said.

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