It is not everyday local surgeons have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the world.
This week, gastroenterologist Dr Stuart Kostalas from the Port Macquarie Private Hospital had the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned interventional endoscopist, Professor Takashi Toyonaga.
From Japan and in Port Macquarie for a five day visit, Professor Toyonaga is refining Dr Kostalas skills in non invasive endoscopic procedures.
“It is really fantastic to be able to learn under Professor Toyonaga because he is the best in his field and learning and mastering his techniques results in much better outcomes for patients,” Dr Kostalas said.
“His non invasive technique is all about minimising how invasive a procedure needs to be by using a scope down the esophagus or anally to remove lesions that may be cancerous or causing other problems.
“Today we were able to perform a procedure which will mean a patient will be able to leave the hospital today whereas under other conditions they may have needed to spend a week in our care recovering from a major operation.”
This is not the first time Dr Kostalas has been a student under Professor Toyonaga, and he said that the opportunity to further develop skills was an chance he was not going to miss.
“This procedure is not done widely in Australia so any chance to learn from the best we would jump at, I have been to Japan to learn under Professor Toyonaga, but to have him in Port Macquarie is excellent,” he said.
“We can use this technique for lesions on the colon, bowl and esophagus but in to the future the possibilities are endless.”
Professor Toyonaga said that his technique is less invasive than a biopsy but can remove the lesion in full.
“In a number of situations people may be required to have a biopsy to determine whether something is cancerous or not, but by using this technique we can remove the lesion in full, very quickly while being very minimally invasive,” Professor Toyonaga said.
“We do this procedure in Japan all the time and from beginning to end can be done in just over 30 minutes with a very short recovery time.”