A South African laparoscopic surgical team at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg near Johannesburg recently performed a live teaching procedure for the AIS Channel (Advances In Surgery), the largest educational forum for laparoscopic surgeons in the world…

“Only a few select surgical teams in the world have had the honour of being asked to perform such teaching procedures for the AIS Channel since its inception,” said Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.

According to Du Plessis, the team was led by highly experienced laparoscopic gastrointestinal (GI) surgeon Dr Francois Schutte, who over his career has performed thousands of laparoscopic hernia repair procedures of various kinds.

“The highly intricate live-streamed primary hiatus hernia repair procedure, which was successfully undertaken on a 34-year-old man from Johannesburg, demonstrated the latest international advances in laparoscopic techniques and was streamed online via the AIS Channel to almost 15 000 viewers in 115 countries worldwide,” says Du Plessis.

Held in high esteem worldwide

“The fact that Dr Schutte and his team were invited to participate in this highly-regarded educational initiative, which included a comprehensive educational panel discussion on the surgical techniques demonstrated, highlights the high esteem they are held within the profession internationally,” he adds.

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“I believe that it also shows that our local laparoscopic surgeons remain on par with, if not ahead of, the very best in the world.”

Dr Schutte, who was assisted in the live-streamed procedure by surgical partner, Dr Frans Badenhorst, says that the AIS Channel is one of the most influential educational forums available to laparoscopic surgeons internationally.

“We as a team were therefore deeply privileged when we were recently asked by AIS to participate in their educational programme,” he adds. “There are few greater honours than to be able to impart your knowledge and skills to esteemed colleagues around the globe.”

Two more educational surgical videos have been produced

The Netcare Sunward Park Surgical team has in the past compiled a further two educational surgical videos that have both been published on the AIS Channel, the most recent being during September this year.

The surgery and interactive forum were held at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital and have been well received by laparoscopic surgeons worldwide, a great number of whom have expressed their appreciation of its value as a learning tool. The procedure and expert panel discussion can be viewed at www.aischannel.com.

The laparoscopic surgical team who performed the live teaching procedure at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital, for broadcasting on the AIS (Advances In Surgery) Channel. From left to right are Sr Carine Klynsmith, surgical scrub assistant; Sr Ann van Antwerpen, anaesthetic assistant; Dr Heidi Lombard, specialist anaesthetist; Dr Francois Schutte, endoscopic surgeon; Sr Barbara Oglesby, senior surgical scrub sister and Dr Frans Badenhorst, surgical assistant and camera operator. (Picture: Frameline Film & Television)

Live surgery forum

Dr Schutte explains that a hiatus hernia is when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and into the chest area, which can result in severe acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

He says that the idea of the live surgery forum was to explore the various techniques, procedures and contentious issues surrounding primary hiatus hernia repairs. The surgical interventions demonstrated included a highly intricate laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication for the treatment of severe GERD.

“In this time of rapid advances in medical technology, I believe that there is a need for a more widespread adoption of new, more effective and even safer surgical and anaesthetic approaches to laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. The purpose of the live stream was to impart these important developments to our colleagues both locally and internationally,” he concludes.


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