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Ground breaking ‘no scar surgery’ a first in New Zealand

A ground breaking new surgical option which will eliminate scarring is now available to Southern women who are considering a hysterectomy.

Southern DHB Obstetrics and Gynaecology consultants Mr Elliot Mackenzie and Mr Mike Stitely are now performing the advanced gynecologic technique known as vNOTES (Vaginal Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery), the first surgeons to do so in the Southern region.

Both consultants are established vaginal surgeons and went through specialised training, including simulations, to perform this innovative approach to a hysterectomy they believe enhances the patient’s experience.

“Because it is a less invasive option than a laparoscopic or traditional hysterectomy, vNOTES provides many benefits to patients including less time in the hospital, faster recovery, decreased pain and no visible scarring,” says Mr Mackenzie.

In a New Zealand first, Mr Mackenzie and Mr Stitely not only completed this procedure on a patient last week, but also performed a vNOTES bilateral uterosacral colpopexy – a transvaginal procedure for apical prolapse – in the same surgery.

“The uterosacral ligaments are support structures that typically keep the cervix and uterus in the pelvis. As those ligaments weaken and stretch, women can develop a prolapse,” says Mr Mackenzie.

“It was no small feat, but we were able to successfully perform both procedures on the patient and three days later she was discharged to recover in the comfort of her own home.”

Using Applied Medical’s innovative GelPOINT V-Path transvaginal access platform – a device that enables access for minimally invasive instruments to perform vNOTES procedures – allowed the consultants to operate with greater accuracy and more precision.

Southern DHB Clinical Nurse Coordinator for Gynaecology and Plastic Surgery in Theatres, Ashleigh Hall, says she felt pride in being part of a New Zealand first. “This procedure was met with a lot of interest from all parts of the theatre team. We all worked towards the common goal of providing safe and exceptional care to our patient, and we are proud the operation was a success.”

Southern DHB General Manager Medicine, Womens and Children, Simon Donlevy, says this type of patient-centred innovation is a momentous step forward.

“It’s inspiring to see such a breakthrough in women’s health and a prime example of the exceptional talent we have operating out of Southern DHB,” says Mr Donlevy. “Our staff are bringing vision and knowledge to our sector, which we know will have a direct impact on patient outcomes.”

Mr Mackenzie will continue working with Applied Medical – the medical device company which has been successfully partnering with Southern DHB since 2013 to offer new healthcare solutions.

“We have a shared vision. Together we’re creating positive patient outcomes, and we’re making the vNOTES approach the new normal for women in the community who are undergoing hysterectomies,” says Mr Mackenzie.

“There is no going back, this is the future.”

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