By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Amid the growing worldwide popularity of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and its benefits, hopes have been raised that Macau might catch up with the international trend as soon as possible.
Series Two of the three-day Sino-Luso International Medical Forum on MIS and laparoscopic surgical training began at the Macau University of Science and Technology campus on Sunday.
Secretary-general of the forum, Daniel Shea Kwok Wai, who is also a member of the organiser Macau Healthcare Management and Promotion Association, said the topic was chosen in response to market demand and a “big potential” in the future development of this surgical technology is anticipated.
He told the Macau Daily Times yesterday the term ‘minimally invasive surgery’ was known in 1998 but new technologies and more user-friendly equipment have continued to emerge over the past 13 years.
The scope of application has also continued to expand from the gastrointestinal and urinary systems to thyroid, mammary gland, heart and lung, digestion system, other major organs and even the joints nowadays, he added.
According to the forum attendees including representatives from the public hospital Conde de São Januário, Kiang Wu Hospital, the University Hospital and private clinics, Macau’s healthcare sector is “very willing and active” to learn more about minimally invasive technology and its application, Shea pointed out.
However, he stressed that this technology advances rapidly every day and it’s very important for different sectors of society to reinforce their knowledge for Macau to catch up with international standards.
“In the European and US markets, the regional hospitals generally have at least two operating theatres which are equipped with comprehensive and advanced minimally invasive technologies,” he said, adding that most of the hospitals in Hong Kong meet these standards, as well as Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai who has six such operating theatres.
“Therefore we hope that Macau’s hospitals can also catch up with the trend but at the same time more surgeons who are capable of operating the equipment will also be needed.”
Apart from the commonly known advantages of having a much smaller incision than required in traditional surgery and a faster recovery time, MIS has “very high economic benefits for society, hospitals and also the patients”, according to Shea.
“Imagine a person who needs to financially support his/her family, needing to undergo an operation will bring a lot of concern because the waiting list is usually long and so is the recovery time. But a keyhole surgery can be completed in 15 minutes, meaning that the waiting time will be shortened and the patient can also get out of hospital sooner,” he explained.
“A person having undergone a traditional surgery may spend two months in the whole process until he/she is fully recovered, whilst in the case of MIS it can be condensed into two weeks, so that the patient can restore his/her normal life one and a half month earlier and the economic benefits there are huge,” he told the MDTimes.
Meanwhile, Ross Horley, one of the forum’s simulation training instructors from Australia, also said MIS and laparoscopic technology have become increasingly used around the world every day.
“Laparoscopic procedures started to gain popularity in the late 1980s and gained a lot of momentum in the last 15 years. But it’s very important to learn properly because instruments are used inside the patients,” Horley told the MDTimes on the sidelines of a simulation workshop yesterday.
“Rather than an open surgery, you are now doing surgery by looking at the monitor. The advantage of it is very low infection rates because the patients won’t have a big wound and thus save a lot of money in the hospital,” he added.