Managing Director of Surgi Med Clinic Company Limited Anirudh Mahabir and the Head of Radiology Stephen Persad with the 120W Holminum Laser.
With so many advancements in medicine, new techniques and technology have made surgery now less invasive.
Urology is one of the areas that is reaping the benefits. A man’s body does not have to be surgically cut open to do prostate surgery anymore, thanks to a medical device called the 120W Holmium Laser.
Managing Director of Surgi Med Clinic Company Limited in San Fernando, Anirudh Mahabir says the laser is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Stone dusting is a common medical term used to describe how stones within the body are treated. The holminum laser provides a wide range of settings such as pulse energy, pulse frequency, and pulse width. In stone dusting, these settings are utilized to break stones into microscopic fragments, which are then removed from the body.
Mahabir said, “It is the most powerful laser in the world for urology. It is used to get rid of stones in the kidney, bladder and also treats prostate. There are other lasers in Trinidad and Tobago used for stones, but the maximum capacity available was 30 watts. Now with the 120W Holminum Laser, we have cut the time for these surgeries by 75%. The family of the patient does not have to provide pints of blood to have the procedure done anymore. It is the only procedure that is bloodless, so it can be done even on people who are on blood thinners. These patients would not have to worry about coming off their medication to do this surgery. The surgery itself is painless and recovery is within 12-24 hours. After a patient leaves the hospital within a week they could resume their normal duties. The internal catheter that is left comes out within two or three days, and there is no bleeding after the surgery.”
“At Surgi Med, we pride ourselves on being a leader in medicine. We always look for ways in providing exceptional patient care while exceeding their expectations,” he said.
“In one week, Surgi Med did eight prostate surgeries, all of them have been successful. Patients were able to leave the hospital in less than 24 hours. The 120W Holminum Laser is the only machine capable of handling any size of prostate without cutting,” Mahabir said.
In the past, large prostates could only be removed by cutting the abdomen. The chance of blood loss, pain and risk for infection was high. The 120W Holminum Laser has minimized these risks drastically, he said.
According to Mahabir, the time allotted for this procedure varies. It can take anywhere between 45 minutes to a couple hours depending on the size of the prostate.
“Once a patient is diagnosed, a thin, tubelike telescope called a urethra-scope is inserted through the urethral opening in the penis and into the urethra. This enables the doctor to see what is going on in the body via a video monitor. The laser, which carries the power is inserted through the urethra-scope to the area. The doctor then fires the laser and destroys the excess prostate tissue. When the laser cuts it also coagulates the blood resulting in no blood loss. This is all done while the patient asleep.”
“Before, 30W lasers were limited in its capabilities. The machine strength was too weak to handle small stones, which made surgery times longer. Patients with larger stones were ineligible for the procedure. I think all human beings on some level are afraid of surgery. They are afraid of being cut open and bleeding. No one wants a positive diagnosis for prostate stones. Some may choose to ignore it, and do nothing about it. This will only make it worse. Many people often think about having their stomach cut, the pain and then having to take anywhere from four to six months to recover. Now with the holminum laser, patients can leave the hospital in less than 24 hours, and within a week resume their normal duties. Having that as an option, I think people would be more inclined to have their prostate check,” he said.
He did not want to put a dollar amount to the surgery, but said, “The cost of this procedure is more than traditional prostate surgery, but the benefits are far superior. The cost of the surgery varies and is dependent on the size of the prostate, and many other factors. With this procedure, patients would see tremendous benefits. There is no blood loss, risk of infection is minimal since the abdomen is not cut, and patients are able to leave the hospital within a day or two,” he said.
“Apart from the holminum laser being a new piece of technology in Trinidad, we are also seeing it as a foreign exchange earner since it is the only one of its kind in the region,” he said.
“I think minimally invasive procedures and advanced lasers are replacing classical surgical tools and the way we view surgery now. This is the future,” he said.
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