Wednesday, October 27

Minimally invasive keyhole surgery changes surgical procedure


Dr Woon (left) receives a plaque from MCCCI chairman Lee Khoi Yun as a token of appreciation.

MIRI: The idea of getting cut up in surgery puts most people in fear but a current new surgical method will change that perception.

General surgeon Dr Winston Woon is on a mission to change that perception with keyhole surgery, a new method used especially in general surgery.

“Back in the days when cases like colorectal or liver surgery needed open surgery, keyhole surgery is used to access the interior (of the body) through a small incision.

“The main idea is like laparoscopy where telescopic lens in a thin rod with light and camera is used to magnify the view of the interior of the body,” he explained.

Keyhole surgery, he reiterated, enables the surgeon to see things (in the body’s interior) better with the targeted area magnified with more precision and less possibility of haemorrhaging.

“The other advantage of having keyhole surgery is that patient will experience less pain (compared to traditional open surgery), smaller wound, lower possibility of wound infection and shorter stay in hospital with faster post-surgical recovery.”

“In the long run, keyhole surgery would be cheaper as patients need only stay in hospital for two to three days compared to open wound surgery which may require a stay of five to seven days.

According to Dr Woon, currently cases suitable for keyhole surgery include gall bladder, appendix surgery and hernia whilst cancer surgery include crucial cases such as colon cancer, liver cancer, pancreas cancer, stomach cancer.

“In cases like hernia, even children can undergo keyhole surgery as it is minimally invasive,” he said, adding that in complex cases where robotic keyhole surgery is required, the cost of the surgery would be higher.

Robotic keyhole surgery is the use of mechanical arms controlled by the surgeon from an operating console.

“Theoretically, it is said to be more precise with lower risk of complications, but  we still need to consider the case before deciding on the option,” he said adding that the obvious advantage is the surgeon does not have to scrub in (surgical scrub and gowning) to perform surgery.

“We need only to be there, looking through the monitor and control the robotic hands (in operating theatre) on the console to perform the surgery.”

At the moment, robotic surgery may not be as popular due to the high cost, he opined.

The surgeon was invited here by Miri Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) for a seminar conducted by CanHope East Malaysia to share on ‘Keyhole Surgery is a way to go’.

Currently practising at Gleneagles Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore, Dr Woon is proficient in all aspects of general surgery and endoscopy (gastroscopy and colonoscopy) with main interest in laparoscopy/robotic surgery including hernia, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and bile duct surgery.

He is the current president of  Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association in Singapore and a regular speaker at international conferences with publications in several peer-viewed medical and surgical journals.