With ’55-inch visualization system’, eye surgery at BC hospital gets 3D boost – Agassiz Harrison Observer
For the past month and a half, Surrey Memorial Hospital has been home to ‘revolutionary’ new technology for eye surgery, according to a retinal surgeon.
The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested $290,000 in two digitally assisted 3D visualization systems for retinal surgery at Surrey Memorial Hospital and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.
Dr. Steve Levasseur, retinal surgeon and head of the department of vitreoretinal surgery, said it was the first in British Columbia.
With the technology, Levasseur said, he has a 3D visualization device “that allows us to provide extreme super-high magnification surgeries on delicate tissue with high resolution and better depth of field.
“As a surgeon, the more you see, the better you can appreciate the tissue, and the greater the ability you have to achieve the result you seek, which is excellence.”
Levasseur is one of six members of the retinal surgery team providing patient care not only in Surrey and Fraser Health Region, but across the province.
He said the team performs around 2,500 surgeries a year.
Retinal diseases, according to the hospitals foundation, are the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. About one in seven Canadians suffer from eye diseases that put them at risk of losing their sight, and as the Canadian population ages, that number is expected to double.
“It ranges from retinal detachments, complicated cataract surgeries, bleeding in the eyes of diabetics, among others,” Levasseur explained.
And “if not treated properly, (it) will lead to irreversible blindness,” he said.
Before 3D technology, Levasseur said only the surgeon would be able to see what’s going on in the eye.
“Before, when we were looking through the microscope, we had these eyepieces, a very small view, and here we can see that we have a 55-inch viewing system, so everything is magnified so much.”
Dr. Festus Kwakye, a medical fellow from Ghana, works with Levasseur. Levasseur said he met Kwakye in Ghana and “he was the star player there”.
Having Kwakye as a fellow gives him the opportunity “to learn the required skills very quickly so that when he returns home he will be a world leader in this field”.
As for Kwakye, getting to work with this new technology has been exciting.
“When I get one in Ghana, it will be the first ever in Africa.”