Strathfield Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

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Three-in-one surgery a game changer

Aug 04, 2014

A 73-year-old man underwent a three-in-one robotic surgery at Strathfield Private last month, cementing the hospital as an "operating room of the future".

In a surgical hat trick, Dr Tru Ngo and Dr Simon Chew removed two primary cancers at the same time - one in the prostate and one in the rectum - before repairing a large hernia, all in a single operation.

Patient Kevin Potter, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January, and whose subsequent scans revealed a second mass in the bowel, described the surgery as "astronomically fantastic" and one he believes almost certainly saved his life.

Pottersays the gratitude he has for the Strathfield surgical team "is hard to put into words".

"Just a few decades ago most medical advice was to put band-aids on things or if it was really serious we were sent home to die," says Potter, from Sylvania.

"And while the trajectory of medical care over the past few decades has always been on a steep up curve, what these doctors have done for me is truly remarkable. I was in hospital on a Saturday night and had three procedures in one.

"I was out within the week, had tiny scars, hardly any pain throughout and now have a great prognosis".

For Urological Surgeon Dr Tru Ngo and Colorectal Surgeon Dr Simon Chew, it was not just about capable hands using high-tech instruments, but doctors working together to combine entirely new possibilities across the specialty spectrum.

"In the past, separate operations would mean multiple scars and abdominal incisions of 20cm or more," says Dr Ngo.

"With the new approach, we are able to navigate through the same surgical holes for each of the different procedures. There are just a few small cuts at 1-1.5cm each and a separate 4cm incision to retrieve both tumours."

SPH three-in-one

Dr Tru Ngo, Dr Simon Chew and Kevin Potter