ST GEORGE St George Private spinal surgeons: We've got your back! St George Private Hospital celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a $36m renovation — including three new theatres soon to be completed, which will help accommodate the region’s growing number of patients with spinal issues. 10 The Ramsay Way 2015 | 03 NEWS Dr Lloyd Davis, Cardiologist From left to right: St George Public/Private surgeons Dr Ashish Diwan (Orthopaedic Surgeon); Dr Geoffrey Rosenberg (Orthopaedic Surgeon); Dr Mark Davies (Neurosurgeon) Find us on Facebook facebook.com/ramsayhealth Connect with Ramsay Health Care HOSPITALS Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, May 2015 “In years past, spinal surgery has often been perceived as a high-stakes medical option with poor outcomes,” says Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Dr Geoffrey Rosenberg. “However for people undergoing spinal surgery today, better diagnostic tools, techniques and training mean a large majority of patients can expect a significant improvement in back pain and mobility. Dr Rosenberg says that Australians spend $464m a year on out of hospital expenses and $560m in hospital for back pain — now officially the number one burden of disease in Australia compared to number six in the world according to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. “Spinal pain can cause colossal levels of suffering and depression and newer techniques including arthroplasty (disc replacement) and minimally invasive spine procedures can be life-changing for someone living with that kind of pain,” said Dr Rosenberg. He said St George Private spinal patients will benefit from three new theatres which will open in 2016 as well as a high-tech O-arm surgical operating system, which allows surgeons high quality imaging in real time during surgery. “This means more accurate assessment intra-operatively during insertion of implants (rods, screws, cages).” However he said spinal surgery should not be the first stop for everyone and that St George Public/ Private spine surgeons recently held a GP workshop to help educate local doctors about recognising which patients are best candidates for surgery. “For GPs and co-hosted with GPs, we examined pre-operative workup tests, post-surgical complications as well as non-surgical options such as injections, physiotherapy and acupuncture,” said Dr Rosenberg. ■ Pain In Australia One in seven Australians (14 per cent) — or three million people — reported back problems in 2011-12. More than two in five Australians with back pain (or 44 %) reported some level of activity limitation – (difficulty in tasks and activities associated with mobility, communication or self-care). According to the Global Burden of Disease estimates, low back pain is ranked first in Australia compared to sixth in the world. More than 3.7 million GP encounters per year in Australia relate to back pain. Today spinal surgery is performed by both orthopaedic and neurosurgeons. W E S T M E A D LifeVest saving lives at Westmead Private Hospital Recently Mr Peter Fulwood from Rylstone, NSW visited Westmead Private to have a LifeVest fitted by Dr Lloyd Davis, Cardiologist. The device has been available in Australia for 18 months, but this was a first for Westmead Private Hospital. The LifeVest is the first wearable defibrillator. It is worn outside the body rather than implanted in the chest. It continuously monitors the patient’s heart and, if a lifethreatening heart rhythm is detected, the device delivers a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. LifeVest protects and monitors patients and allows them to be discharged from hospital when a physician is deciding whether or not to implant an ICD. If a patient does have a potentially lethal arrhythmia, LifeVest will usually defibrillate the patient within 60 seconds and their chance of survival, conscious to the ER on the first shock, is 98%. LifeVest can deliver up to 5 shocks if necessary and also provides the physician with the ability to monitor patients remotely through the internet. Mr Fulwood wore the LifeVest and was monitored by Dr Davis for 8 weeks before returning to Westmead Private Hospital to have an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) installed. Dr Davis said “The LifeVest is a wonderful tool for me to be able to monitor patients to get a true picture of what is happening prior to surgery and to safely look after high risk patients in the community”. The LifeVest is used for a wide range of patient conditions, including following a heart attack, before or after bypass surgery or stent placement, as well as cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure, that place patients at particular risk for sudden cardiac death.
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