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Jewish General Hospital first in Canada to perform robot-assisted liver resection
The Jewish General Hospital (JGH) has become the first hospital in Canada to perform robot-assisted surgery to complete a hepatectomy, also known as a liver resection. The procedure involved removing half of a patient’s liver, which contained colon cancer metastases, through a series of small punctures made using the da Vinci surgical system.
This is the second time Dr. Tsafrir Vanounou, a staff surgeon in the JGH Division of General Surgery, has set a new precedent by completing a highly complex surgery with the use of the da Vinci surgical system. In November 2011, Dr. Vanounou became the first doctor in Canada to perform a Whipple procedure, removing a tumour from a patient’s pancreas, using the da Vinci robot.
In this most recent case, the da Vinci system provided Dr. Vanounou with a three-dimensional perspective of the operating field through a special digital viewer. “With the da Vinci surgical system, patient discomfort and recovery time are dramatically reduced, as is the duration of the hospital stay,” says Dr. Vanounou. “Moreover, the risks of complications are diminished and external scars are minimized, making the experience much easier for the patient.”
Using the da Vinci robot system, Dr. Vanounou was able to perform this complex surgical procedure with improved precision and ergonomics as well as a three-dimensional view of the surgical site. The robotic instruments translate the natural movements of a surgeon's hand into precise movements inside the abdominal cavity. The three-dimensional view of the operative field, along with a greater degree of freedom provides a surgeon with full dexterity to perform delicate dissection and precise suturing.
The first person to undergo the robot-assisted liver resection at the JGH was Mrs. Guylaine Dancause, a patient in her 50s, after she was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer to her liver. When she was informed that the procedure would be done robotically, she realized that this was the best option for her. “When you are in a situation like the one I was in, you have to trust what your doctor recommends, and in this case I knew that Dr. Vanounou was leading me in the right direction,” says Mrs. Dancause.
"Once again, the JGH has provided life-saving cancer surgery of unusual complexity by taking full advantage of cutting-edge technology," says Dr. Hartley Stern, JGH Executive Director. "This new technique, like many others at the JGH, has the double advantage of being significantly cost-effective, while improving the care that the patient receives -- for example, by reducing the length of the hospital stay. This heightened efficiency also makes much-needed treatment available to greater numbers of individuals. At the same time, we are sharing new information and techniques with our healthcare partners across Quebec, with the aim of strengthening the public healthcare system as a whole."
Recent advancements in the medical field such as the da Vinci robot as well as several other minimally invasive technologies mean that patients can now benefit from medical treatments that are more efficient and precise, yet less invasive than ever before, says Dr. Vanounou. “The JGH is at the cutting edge of the surgical management of cancer and is incredibly proud to provide patients with advanced treatment methods, while pushing the frontiers of surgical oncology to ensure that we can offer cancer patients at the JGH the most advanced and up-to-date surgical therapies available on the market.”
Dr. Vanounou is thankful to the highly skilled and motivated team which is comprised of Dr. Simon Bergman, the JGH anaesthesia department, as well as the operating room staff. “We are lucky at the JGH to have an incredibly talented and dedicated team all pushing forward in the same direction to improve the surgical care for cancer patients”.
When asked about the future, Dr Vanounou promised that the team will continue to innovate and continually push forward the boundaries of minimally invasive cancer surgery so that the Jewish General Hospital can always offer its patients the best surgical cancer treatment available anywhere in the world.
Glenn J. Nashen, Director
Astrid Morin, Media Relations
Public Affairs and Communications
Jewish General Hospital
Tel.: 514-340-8222 ext. 4612