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BERTAM, April 9, 2020 - For the first time, the Surgical Unit, Advanced Medical and Dental Institute, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has successfully performed the Left Lateral Sectionectomy of Liver in a breast cancer patient whose cancer has spread to the liver, on the last 7th of April.

The surgical team consists of two surgeons; led by Dr. Leow Voon Meng (Hepato-pankreato-biliari (HPB) Consultant and General Surgeon) assisted by Dr. Fitreena Anis Amran (General Surgeon).

In addition, the team also included two anesthesiologist, Dr. Zainab Abdul Ghaffar (Consultant Anesthesiologist) and Dr. Chong Soon Eu (Anesthesiologist), two Medical Officers of Anesthesiology Department, two Chief Nurses, six Nurses and one Health Care Assistant.

The decision to perform the surgery was made after a detailed and thorough discussion of the patient's condition between the Radiotherapy and Oncology Unit, Imagery Unit, and Surgical Unit.

The surgery followed the patient's consent after the surgical procedure and complications were explained. The surgery was performed under general anesthesia and took 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The surgery found the tumor at the left side of the patient's liver (segment II and segment III) which was located in an important blood vessel as shown on a CT scan performed prior to the surgery.

A portion of the patient's left lobe was removed and two cancerous nodules (tumors) were also removed; i) in the lining between the stomach and left heart (gastrohepatic ligament), and ii) in the Common Hepatic Artery.

Following the successful surgery, the patient was in stable condition and placed in the Intensive Care Unit, AMDI for monitoring.

The surgery was successfully carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) through Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah which has provided the necessary equipment for HPB surgery as the AMDI Surgical Unit was not fully equipped to enable liver surgery in AMDI.

Dr. Leow and his team successfully established the Surgical Unit in 2014 and the Endoscopy services in 2016 in AMDI. Besides, Dr Leow has been actively contributing his expertise and clinical studies at the HPB Unit, Department of Surgery, Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah, Alor Setar, since 2013.

In addition, he is also involved in liver and kidney procurement and liver transplantation surgeries from time to time at Selayang Hospital.

He is a reference specialist in surgical and endoscopy (ERCP) elective and emergency cases for liver, pancreas and bile from MOH hospitals in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia (Perlis, Perak, and Penang).

He has been a monthly visiting expert at the Department of Surgery, School of Medical Sciences, Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, since 2015 to set up the HPB Unit, which conducts clinical studies, teaching and trainings of surgeons and M. Med students.

Dr. Leow has also helped establish the Association of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgeons Malaysia in 2019, and was elected the association’s treasurer.

He has chaired the 3rd International HPB Symposium in 2018 and held National Hands-on Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy workshops for Malaysian’s young surgeons at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah and Basic Surgical Skills for graduate doctors particularly from the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia at AMDI, USM.

Based on the expertise and the capabilities of the existing staffs, it would be a great loss if AMDI did not take the opportunity to expand the service in hepatobiliary surgery. This is because AMDI only needs to add a few more surgical equipment to complete this unit.

Besides, AMDI will be able to offer sub-specialty studies in the field of HPB and specialized research on HPB cancer disease if its Surgical Unit is fully equipped.

At present, not many medical centers in our country are actively attending HPB cases as they require highly trained medical personnel to perform the procedures. Only four hospitals are able to perform the operation successfully and they are Hospital Selayang (Selangor), Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah (Kedah), Hospital Sultanah Aminah (Johor), and Hospital Umum Kuching (Sarawak).

Text : Hafiz Meah Ghouse Meah [ from original source : Dr. Anis Amran (IPPT)