Ear nose and throat surgeon, Mr Desmond Wee and Mr Symonds The Ramsay Way 2015 | 03 5 HOSPITALS H O L LY WO O D Australian-first virtual reality test to help patients Hollywood Private Hospital in Perth is the first in Australia to trial a technique that uses virtual reality images to reduce anxiety in patients. Patients undergoing knee operations at Ramsay Health Care’s Hollywood Private Hospital will be given virtual reality goggles with beach images before entering the operating theatre. Researchers believe watching the scenes for 10 minutes can help keep patients’ heart rate and blood pressure in check and reduce the need for medication. It’s the first time the technique has been tested in Australia, but Surgical Realities, the company behind the idea, said it could eventually become standard care if successful. And the early indication is it will be, according to company chief operating officer Anitra Robertson. “We’re doing tests at the moment,” Ms Robertson said. “It’s easy and non-invasive and people report feeling very calm, with some even falling asleep. “We’ve done 12 to 15 patients and some have come out of submersion in a very relaxed state.” The testing is a collaboration between Surgical Realities, Hollywood Private Hospital, The Joint Studio and The University of Notre Dame Australia. Researchers at Notre Dame are looking at how virtual reality technology can assist in managing pain and anxiety in patients. The university’s churack chair for chronic pain education and research, Professor Eric Visser said it was an exciting area of research. “Anxiety and fear are some of the most common experiences people have to deal with when they go to hospital and can make pain, nausea and vomiting worse,” Professor Visser said. “Severe anxiety like a sense of doom around the time of an operation places a strain on vital organs like the heart, brain, gut and kidneys, which sometimes leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and poor wound healing. “Anxious patients also consume more painkillers which leads to side effects such as drowsiness, constipation, bowel blockages, nausea and vomiting.” Depending on how effective the remaining trials are, Ms Robinson said the technique could be used more widely as early as next year. ■ Connect with Ramsay Health Care W E S T M E A D Simple vaccination can prevent against cancer Dr Gary McKay, a colorectal surgeon at Westmead Private Hospital, and keen proponent of cancer prevention strategies, recently screened on Channel 9’s late night viewing of “Embarrassing Bodies Down Under”. This was certainly “Adults-Only” viewing, and not for the faint hearted or those with a delicate constitution. Dr McKay was filmed while surgically excising a large cauliflower-like anal lesion, referred to by medicos as a “condylomata”, common, known as an “anal wart”. It showed Dr McKay’s patient in quite a confronting position with legs up in stirrups, as the anal wart largely replacing his anal canal was carefully chiselled out using diathermy. This confronting position is the only position that allows Dr McKay to do such surgery. When asked why he chose this of all professions, Dr McKay replied with a wry smile, “I guess I saw an opening” sic. In fact Dr McKay’s butt jokes are often used during his consultation with patients to lighten the mood when talking about what is often an extremely vexed and embarrassing condition that has often not even been spoken about to their closest family member or partner. It is this embarrassment, and lack of public awareness, which unfortunately results in immeasurable suffering amongst Australians who present late with untreated anal and genital warts, or even worse suffer their long term sequelae of anal and cervical cancer. Despite all the humour and butt jokes, Dr McKay states “this is no laughing matter”. Last year alone there were over 200 deaths due to cervical cancer and that’s almost half the rate 20 years earlier prior to the introduction of routine vaccination of women entering high school with the Gardisil®. Whilst anal cancer is less common and less well known than cervical cancer, it is still a huge issue particularly in high risk patients including those with previous anal human papilloma virus (HPV) wart exposure, and men who have sex with men (referred to as “MSM”) where the lifetime risk of anal cancer is 30 times that the average population. In the MSM and HIV population the lifetime risk of anal cancer skyrockets to 100 times that of the average population. This is a real shame, as the HPV vaccine Gardasil® virtually eliminates the risk of developing cervical or anal cancer by immunising against the 4 commonest serotypes responsible (HPV serotypes 6, 11, 16 and 18). Whilst routine vaccination of teenage girls has been in place for almost 20 years with cervical cancer receiving a huge amount of publicity and spending for preventative campaigns, until recently anal cancer has largely been ignored with very little known about this condition. It is only since February 2013 that routine vaccination was implemented for teenage boys turning 12 or 13 in their first year of secondary schooling. Dr McKay adds, “this is likely to see a dramatic fall in HPV-related cancers in both men and women, which hopefully will do cancer surgeons like me out of business!” The vaccination is also available with a prescription from any chemist and costs $150. Three doses are usually required to gain complete immunity (2nd does at 2 months and 3rd dose at 6 months). ■ NEWS H O L LY WO O D Robotic surgery breakthrough at Hollywood 56 year old Peter Symonds from Booragoon was recently diagnosed with tonsil cancer. Mr Symonds first presented his case to Hollywood ENT Surgeon Mr Desmond Wee in February 2015 fearful of a terminal prognosis. It was after this first visit to Hollywood that Mr Symonds soon learnt he was a candidate for robotic surgery with the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, a considerably less invasive treatment option. “After being diagnosed with tonsil cancer and hearing my options for treatment, I was completely overwhelmed. Reading up on cases where patients had to have their jaw broken to be able to reach the cancer was quite scary. “I was thrilled when after meeting Mr Wee he informed me that I was a candidate for the surgery.” The complex surgery was successfully performed in less than three hours, with Mr Wee first completing the neck dissection then reconfiguring the da Vinci Xi to remove the tonsil cancer. “During this procedure, we were able to successfully address all affected areas” Mr Wee said. “Using the da Vinci Xi, Mr Symonds did not require further surgery or chemotherapy. He still required radiotherapy but this was tailored to reduce toxicity and significantly lessen his recovery time.” This procedure marks the latest advancement in robotic assisted surgery. Hollywood was the first site in Australia to use the da Vinci Xi for trans oral robotic surgery and remains the only site in Western Australia to offer the service. Hollywood CEO, Peter Mott said this breakthrough procedure emphasises the hospital’s continued efforts to offer significant surgical advancements to its patients.
The Ramsay Way - 2015 03
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