22 November 2012

South Africa: Dr George Mukhari Surgeons Performed the First Laparoscopical Operation in South Africa

press release

Gauteng Health MEC, Mr Hope Papo congratulates Head of General Surgery, Professor Zach Koto and his team at Dr George Mukhari Hospital following a successful first operation to be performed laparoscopically for blockages in South Africa.

This follows the recent arrival of laparoscopic cameras worth R2 million bought for Dr George Mukhari Hospital. These cameras are to be used at surgery, cardiology, gynaecology and obstetrics units. They will also be used for urology and neurology surgeries.

The beneficiary, a 63 year old pensioner, Mr Cecil Mosupye who became the first patient to undergo a laparoscopic aortobifemural bypass graft in South Africa is excited to have been relieved from intense pain and is now well enough to be discharged.

He said, "I have been in pain since February 2012. The pain got worse when I tried to walk, I feared that my leg will be amputated. Following this surgery, the pain stopped immediately (a sign that enough oxygen-carrying blood is now reach¬ing my muscles). I am quitting smoking to live a healthy lifestyle."

Mosupye suffered from blockages in the arteries to his legs which was possibly caused by hypertension and years of heavy smoking.

Detailing the patient's condition, Professor Koto said the muscles needed oxygen, carried by red blood cells, but the constricted arteries could not get enough blood where it was needed.

He added that by the time of his surgery last week Friday, Mosupye was in pain even when resting. His left leg was beginning to change colour. If he was operated on immediately, he would have developed gangrene and then he would have needed an amputa¬tion.

Professor Koto said the patient needed aortobifemural bypass graft. The oper¬ation involves connecting a Y-shaped artificial artery or graft from the body's main artery to the blood vessels leading to the legs.

"This procedure is done on a regular basis both in SA and abroad. Usually, the operation involves cutting open the belly area. It's major surgery that leaves patients in pain, with limited mobility and breathing difficulties while they recover," said Professor.

He continued, "What we did differently this time is that, instead of slashing open the abdomen, we made several small incisions, just big enough to insert a camera the size of a pen called a laparoscope."

In the four-hour-long operation, Professor Koto with sur¬geons Dr Faisal Ghoor and Dr Peter Kawesa made six small cuts in Mosupye's abdomen and a seventh on his bellybutton. The rolled-up graft was dropped into one of these and connected to the arteries.

"The advantage of laparoscopy is magnification, about 10 times that of the human eye, so we can see much better," said Koto.

The department's spokesperson, Simon Zwane said this form of non-invasive surgery makes recovery both faster and less painful. Mr Mosypye is about to be discharged and many more patients are to benefit from this new equipment.

"This is one of the initiatives of the department to improve the delivery of healthcare in the province," he added.

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