Consultant helps introduce surgical technique to West African doctors

Photo Credit - BTHFT

A Bradford consultant has introduced a new medical procedure to doctors in the West African country of Benin.

Dr Harry Bardgett, a Consultant Radiologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), learned of the plight of people suffering from kidney stones in economically developing nations of Africa during a chance meeting with Eastbourne-based consultant urologist, Graham Watson, who runs charity the Medi Tech Trust.

Dr Bardgett has taught an innovative technique – known as ‘Ultra Mini PCNL’ (percutaneous nephrolithotomy) - which enables doctors to glean better pictures of the kidneys, allowing them to shatter and extract stones using an endoscope and negating the need to revert to open surgery with its associated risks to patients.

Dr Bardgett said: “In Benin, urology patients with kidney stones have either no treatment or open surgery – which can only be performed once – yet most will have recurrent disease which means they will need ongoing treatment.

“The Medi Tech Trust trains surgeons in modern stone procedures by using endoscopes (tiny cameras which help doctors to see inside the kidney) as opposed to carrying out open surgery.

“PCNL ultrasound access has huge benefits for doctors too as it helps them identify which part of the kidney to puncture into. Doctors can then can see the renal stones and glean important information on the structures around the kidney.

“PCNL benefits for patients include reduced blood loss, less damage to the kidney and a shorter hospital stay. For some, the stay can be as little as 24 hours, as opposed to around four to five days.”

“During our next trip in six-to-12 months, they will receive more training to help them become a completely independent practice.

“By our third visit, the surgeons will be sufficiently proficient to train other doctors from neighbouring countries who will come to Cotonou to learn these new techniques, so even more patients will benefit.”

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