Solomon Islands Hospital Receives Laparoscopic Surgery Machine

Manufacturer Olympus makes donation to National Referral Hospital

By Lesley Sanga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 6, 2017) – The National Referral Hospital has taken delivery of a new and specialized machine that will enhance surgery on the abdomen and make detection easier.

Called Laparoscopic machine, it was donated by Olympus, an international corporation that manufactures specialized health equipment

The entire laparoscopic stack, which sells for SBD$360,000 [US$46,000], was already installed at the hospital.

According to visiting Australian surgeon Dr Gary Mckay, the machine will make“Laparoscopic surgery” easier and quicker. 

“Laparoscopic surgery, also referred to as ‘key-hole surgery’, is where surgery is performed through small less than 1cm cuts in the abdomen through which small ports are inserted,” Dr Mckay explained.

“This will allow insertion of various grasping and cutting instruments through these ports as well as the insertion of a camera, which provide complete visualization of the inside of the abdomen,” he added. 

Dr Mckay said this means that where there is uncertainty about the cause of abdominal pain, diagnostic laparoscopy can be performed, allowing full inspection of the entire abdominal cavity.  

“Laparoscopic surgery is also very useful for removing the inflamed appendix or gallbladder. 

“The smaller incisions allow for less pain, and return to normal activities much sooner.”

Dr Mckay said the Laparoscopic machine was donated following a request from Medical Superintendent Dr Rooney Jagilly. 

He said that appendicitis and abdominal pain of uncertain cause are common presentation to NRH.

“Gallbladder stones are not as common but are on the increase, particularly with rising obesity rate.

“These three conditions all benefit from key-hole surgery.” 

The only other Laparoscopic equipment is at Gizo hospital.

This was donated by Dr Fred Boseto in 2012 during one of his visits to Gizo from Bathurst.

Dr Boseto, originally from Choiseul Province, but who now works and lives in Australia, pioneered laparoscopic surgery with Dr Mckay and Dr Neil Muelman doing the first key hole-removal of gallbladder and appendix in the Solomon Islands.

Dr McKay explained that the key hole surgery is most useful for looking inside the abdomen when the cause for abdominal pain is uncertain. 

“It is minimally invasive, with three small incisions each less than 1cm.

“This results in much less pain and quicker recovery than open surgery with procedures done typically as an overnight admission with discharge home the following day.

“But like any surgery key-hole surgery still requires two people: a surgeon and assistant.

“The surgeon does the operating using long graspers and cutting instruments (scissors or diathermy hook), with the assistant holding the camera.

“Like any new surgery there is a learning curve with hole surgery is initially taking longer than open surgery.

“With practice, the operating time is reduced and is similar to open surgery in terms of difficulty.

“One laparoscopic machine can typically be used to provide 6-10 operations a day,” Dr Mckay said. 

He said until now the patient, particularly the young women, with abdominal pain has been very hard to diagnose and treat. 

“Women, unlike men, have many potential causes for abdominal pain.

“Ultrasound can be useful, but this is a diagnostic tool only.

“Laparoscopy has the advantage of allowing diagnosis of the condition and surgical treatment to alleviate symptoms at the same time.

“Until now laparotomy (large incision through the abdomen) has been the only way to enter the abdomen and make such diagnosis.

“Key-hole removal of gallbladder and appendix, allowed for patient to have their surgery and go home the next day.

“They can resume normal activities almost immediately, unlike open surgery where hospital stay is up to a week, and full recovery can take four to six weeks,” Dr Mckay said.

Dr Mckay, a General and Colorectal Surgeon, is founder of Doctors Assisting In Solomon Islands (DAISI), a not for profit organization.

  DAISI receives no Government funding, with all volunteers paying their own way.

Any doctor volunteering in the Solomon Islands can become a member with most members coming from Australia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands.

Dr Mckay said DAISI's aim is to promote health education in the Solomon Islands through teaching and supporting of current infrastructure and through the donation of medical supplies and equipment.

Like Dr McKay, most DAISI members are specialist surgeons, with 12 surgical visits and over 83 volunteers to the Solomon Islands scheduled for this year. 

The primary focus of these visits is to teach the necessary surgical skills to local doctors.

Solomon Star
Copyright © 2017 Solomon Star. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)


Good report. Should improve health care in that area.

nice ..such help would narrow the gaps between developed and developing country . Keep up the good works !

Add new comment