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Neuroendovascular Surgery At Christchurch Hospital

6 July 2005

South Island Centre Of Excellence For Neuroendovascular Surgery At Christchurch Hospital

A South Island Centre of Excellence in Neuroendovascular surgery has been established at Christchurch Hospital under the guidance of neurosurgeon Mr Ronald Boet.

The Unit that provides for more than 50 patients each year who come into hospital with a cranial aneurysm, is world class.

Mr Boet said although patients with this condition had been treated at Christchurch Hospital with the endovascular technique since March 2004, the Unit had been successful in getting the additional funding required from the CDHB to enable a more comprehensive service to be established.

South Island patients who were in need of the procedures now provided at Christchurch Hospital were flown to Auckland Hospital by air ambulance in the past, but with the expanded service now available here, not only Canterbury patients would benefit but also those from around the South Island.

Mr Boet said the clinical procedure had changed markedly in recent years with stents being used in conjunction with new generation coils in selected aneurysms. ‘A tiny micro-catheter is placed inside the aneurysm through which tiny detachable platinum coils are fed until the aneurysm is completed occluded thereby preventing a further haemorrhage. This is done through a minimally invasive approach via the groin.’

After gaining experience in neuroendovascular techniques in Hong Kong, Mr Boet returned to Christchurch in 2003 to set up the new Unit with fellow clinicians radiologist Andrew Laing and anaesthetist Hamish Gray and support from the Neurosurgery and Radiology Departments.

‘We are unique in that we have a team comprising three different specialities,’ Mr Boet said. ‘In Auckland and Wellington the service is provided by radiologists only. We believe having three specialists working together gives us the edge. The patient benefits enormously from immediate radiological and neurosurgical expertise during each procedure whilst at the same time the anaesthetic is performed by a dedicated neuro-anaesthetist with endovascular experience resulting in a safer procedure.’

Mr Boet said the new service had received support from Christchurch Hospital’s Clinical Review Panel and had been peer reviewed before the requisite funding was approved by the Hospital’s management.

‘We were able to make a good case for the funding not only because of the number of patients needing the procedure, but also because the money spent on the cost of flying patients to Auckland and back would be better spent on having a local service. In addition recent studies have demonstrated that coiling techniques resulted in a superior clinical outcome in selected aneurysms when compared to surgical treatment.’

The staff at the Christchurch Unit are excited about the new technologies are being developed almost continuously and believe that the mix of radiological, surgical and anaesthetic expertise in the unit make it unique in New Zealand and Australia.


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