Zim poised for major medical breakthrough

The development is the first of its kind in the country and focuses on keyhole lung surgeries (removing part of the lung through a 3cm incision).

ZIMBABWE is earmarked for another major medical breakthrough as it is set to conduct a minimally invasive thoracic surgery today.

The development is the first of its kind in the country and focuses on keyhole lung surgeries (removing part of the lung through a 3cm incision).

A thoracic surgery, also known as chest surgery, may be used to diagnose or repair lungs affected by cancer, trauma or pulmonary disease. For lung cancer, the surgeon may remove nodules, tumours and lymph nodes to diagnose and treat the disease.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Masterclass of Uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery Zimbabwe programme yesterday, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals head of cardiothoracic surgery, Simukai Muchawira, said they were positive about registering success in the live operations to be conducted today.

“Basically what we are doing is refining our technique in minimally invasive thoracic surgery and the aim is to impart the knowledge to the region as well as locally so that we are able to practise the same way locally,” Muchawira said.

“Our aim today (yesterday), we do what we call a dry lab and then we also have what we call a wet lab where we operate on pigs and tomorrow (today) we will have live cases,” he said.

The live cases will be done at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Avenues Clinic.

He said today’s live cases would be done on three patients with different problems linked to lungs.

“They include a patient with a destroyed lung from tuberculosis and then there is one who has a tumour of the gland and we also have a patient with lung cancer to be operated on.

“We want to use this modified technique of our video-assisted thoracic surgery where instead of having three ports you have one port which we call uniportal thoracic surgery and we are sure this will be a success as we have a team with extensive experience.  I am sure the next time you will be coming we will be doing robotic surgery as we continue to advance as the rest of the world is doing,” he said.

Also speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe’s sole female cardiothoracic surgeon Kudzai Kanyepi said this was a breakthrough as the country was focusing on attaining world standards in surgery.

“Instead of the traditional long incision that we make of the chest, we make smaller incisions. We will be conducting surgeries in patients doing lung resections using this advanced technique which we hope will be adopted not just in Zimbabwe, but throughout the region of Africa as we have participants from the whole region from as far afield as Somalia, Libya, Uganda, Botswana who have all come to our international masterclass,” she said.

“Going forward we will be providing a course more and more doing these techniques using a minimally invasive procedure which is far better and that’s why we have brought these professors, these masters in thoracic surgery to Zimbabwe so we can continue to move forward with this technique.” 

Director University of Zimbabwe International Centre for Surgical Simulation Godfrey Muguti said the thoracic surgery lecture was convened to introduce trainee surgeons and young surgeons to new techniques of operating the chest.

“In the last 20 years or so, there have been major advances that are making it possible to solve, you know, big surgical problems through small incisions. This particular workshop is for surgeons who work on the chest and the training involves lectures that talk about the different techniques, about the different diseases,” said Muguti,who is also a professor of surgery and professorial chair at UZ.

The milestone achievement will be overseen by an international faculty facilitating the workshop of world-renowned leading thoracic surgeons in the world.

The surgeons are from Spain, South Africa and Morocco.

Zimbabwe has of late been making milestones in the area of surgery; with the latest and notable being the successful open heart surgeries that were done last year.

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