This week, a team from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital (HMGH) successfully performed a highly advanced surgery to treat a Covid-19 patient with kidney stones. The surgery is thought to be a world-first for a Covid-19 patient using the thulium fiber laser, according to HMC.
It marks the first time the thulium fiber laser technology has been used on a Covid-19 positive patient in the Middle East, using the Ibn Sina Robot, HMC has said in a statement.
The "first-of-its-kind" surgery combined highly advanced laser techniques and robotic surgery technology and allowed for precautionary distancing in the operating theatre. The technology allowed the surgical team to perform the operation on the Covid-19-positive patient while ensuring 2m distance between the patient and surgeons.
Dr Abdulla al-Ansari
Dr Morshed Ali Salah
The surgery was one of three kidney stone procedures performed during a single day at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital. The other two surgeries were performed on non-Covid-19 patients using the thulium fiber laser but without robotic surgery technology.
Dr Abdulla al-Ansari, chief medical officer at HMC, along with Dr Morshed Ali Salah, senior consultant - Surgery and head of the Surgery and Urology departments at HMGH, performed the three procedures.
They said a new anaesthesia procedure was also used to reduce the duration of the procedures, ensuring safer care for the patients and reducing their length of stay in hospital. Two of the patients were discharged on the same day as their procedure, with the Covid-19 patient remaining in hospital to receive additional care.
Equipment used in the procedure
“While the world and healthcare organisations are struggling from the continuous pressure resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic, HMC continues to be committed to providing the best care for patients according to global quality standards. HMC has succeeded, despite the
circumstances of the pandemic and the blockade, to introduce a state-of-the-art surgical technology using the thulium fiber laser to perform this first-of-its-kind surgery in the world. This surgery combined laser technology and robotic surgery, allowing for precautionary distance between the patient and healthcare teams. It demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest medical and safety standards,” said Dr al-Ansari.
“We would like to reassure all patients that our emergency surgical services are available as usual and that we are applying all measures and safety procedures to protect patients and medical teams. We understand the stress and anxiety that some patients may feel towards being treated in hospital but they should feel confident knowing that we are applying all recommended procedures to reduce their risk of Covid-19 infection,” added Dr al-Ansari.
Dr Salah noted that the patients had kidney stones that ranged in size from 1.2cm to 2cm, and that two of the three patients had stones located in their ureter. He said the third surgery was more complicated as the 33-year-old patient was Covid-19-positive and was suffering from a 1.5cm stone located in his right kidney.
“We started using the Ibn Sina Robot nine months ago and have performed 42 surgeries till date. This equipment is highly accurate in terms of targeting. The laser can target kidney stones from different angles and in a circulated diameter that reaches 440 degrees. It also allows surgeons to keep a safe distance from the patient, which is essential when caring for patients who are Covid-19-positive, for example. The technology allows us to reach to 2.5m while ensuring less movement for the endoscope inside the kidney and reducing any potential trauma,” said Dr Salah.
“The new thulium fiber is an advanced technology and reduces the time required to complete this procedure by half. This allows most patients to be discharged from hospital more quickly, and helps ensure patients experience less post-surgery pain,” said Dr Salah.
Dr Ahmad al-Mohamed, medical director of HMGH, said HMC is continuing to provide all medical services to patients, regardless of their Covid-19 status.
“We value the efforts being made by staff to ensure the best possible care of all patients, including those who are Covid-19-positive. All care is being provided in accordance with a comprehensive treatment plan co-ordinated across the various hospital departments,” said Dr al-Mohamed.
“We are fully prepared to treat Covid-19 patients and provide all required medical services as part of our efforts to ensure the burden on other HMC facilities is reduced and that patients and staff at non-Covid-19 treatment facilities are not unnecessarily exposed to this virus. This strategic plan was prepared by the System-Wide Incident Command Committee and has proven to be very effective in ensuring the best care for all our patients,” added Dr al-Mohamed.