Video camera is perfect support for surgeons

Unsurprisingly, our busy lifestyles — including processed and fast foods and high levels of stress — can lead to digestive disorders: the most common of health problems. Gastritis and ulcers are almost seen as commonplace, with many students suffering from them, although they rarely alter any aspect of their lifestyle.
By Maria Golubtsova

Doctors assert that such problems won’t solve themselves however, requiring medicine or, even, surgery. Minsk’s Regional Clinical Hospital has joined forces with the Belarusian State Medical University’s Department for Normal Anatomy and the Belarusian Medical Academy of Post-Graduate Studies’ Surgery Department to develop a new treatment for seemingly hopeless patients. Two operations have already been conducted successfully, as State Award laureate Prof. Igor Grishin explains. The doctor of medical sciences is a talented surgeon and believes the approach is truly unique.

Radical approach
Mr. Grishin specialises in operations on the stomach and intestine; he is a ‘father’ of endoscopic surgery (‘the large surgery of small spaces’). Its main principle is to cause as little trauma and disturbance as possible, using a tiny incision and inserting a micro-camera. It’s convenient, since patients recover more quickly, with minimal scarring; the whole medical system benefits, as post-operative care is minimised. People can return home and to work soon afterwards. It saves hospital time and money.

“Until 1986, we preferred to resection the stomach where stenosis and constipation was severe,” recollects Mr. Grishin. “Simply, part of the stomach was removed if some of its function failed. Sadly, this had long-term consequences for patients, who would lose some mobility. In cases of ulcers or problems with the dodecadactylon, these organs were removed and repeat surgery was often necessary. With professors Y. Martynov, N. Batvenkov, G. Rychagov, A. Vorobey, V. Lobankov and many others, we began developing unique methods, inventing an operation which would treat stomach-related problems without requiring removal. We began gaining experience with the method but needed a universal procedure to put aside all thoughts of stomach removal. By 1999, we were ready in theory and practice.”

Later, endoscopic equipment was developed and Mr. Grishin joined his pupils and surgeons D. Chepik, V. Bochko and S. Lagodich in conducting operations using a modern, attenuated method; it required just four small incisions, allowing a mini camera and instruments to enter. According to Mr. Grishin, our doctors are pioneers in this field globally. He explains, “Other surgeons might think that organs can be preserved in 55-60 percent of ulcer stenosis patients. However, we are ready to conduct organ-preserving operations on all who need them. Previously, 70 percent of patients required a second surgery; now, just 3-5 percent endure repeat operations. It’s a great achievement — down from 200 patients a year to no more than around 15-20.”

Diagnosis not final
It’s wonderful for patients to be able to keep their stomach, since it generates 30 hormones affecting the entire body. Mr. Grishin had one patient who weighed just 41kg at the age of 29 and was no longer able to eat normally. Now, she is fully recovered, without having had her stomach removed; she doesn’t even have a scar. Such an outcome would have seemed miraculous in the past. A morning operation sees patients released by the evening, being able to walk; they return to work in just a couple of days.

The experience of the Minsk Regional Clinical Hospital can certainly be shared more widely, since the necessary equipment is available. Staff need only to be trained. Many people suffer from similar ailments but often fail to receive appropriate help, being operated on incorrectly. One of the first to receive the new method of surgery arrived from Bobruisk; she’d been diagnosed with another problem but, after a medical examination, her stomach was seen to be the cause of her discomfort.

Stomach ulcers and dodecadactylon problems are currently being successfully treated with drugs, although surgical intervention is sometimes needed. Operations are still ‘open’ but ‘keyhole’ surgery could also soon be introduced.
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