Baptist Hospital Mutengene (BHM) has acquired a C-Arm (Fluoroscopy Machine) and other new equipment for major and minor bone operations. This equipment acquired from the United States comes in time to assist the surgeons of the onerous, risky and long hours they usually take in performing bone operations. Bone operations that usually took three hours and more can now be performed in a few minutes without cutting through the flesh and bleeding.
According to Dr. Gerald Ekwen, general surgeon and Chief of Surgery at BHM, the C-Arm (Fluoroscopy Machine) named after its ‘C’ shape, is an x-ray machine used intra operatively during surgery to be able to know the aligning of the bone so that when a reduction is done, you are certain that the bone has been well aligned.
He explained that after surgery instead of waiting to discover the next day that the bone was not well aligned, the screen on the equipment gives you visuals of every process. It also helps in guiding surgeons when making little incisions like a hole on the bone; instead of big incisions and cutting into the skin which often cause the patient to bleed and risk being exposed to further infections. The Fluoroscopy Machine guides the surgeon through the screen as the bone fracture is being operated upon with the help of the x-ray video device.
Dr. Gerald also added that the C-Arm is also used for Bariatric surgery, where the machine is used to identify a stone or abnormalities in the bile duct and repair them and also for vascular surgery. If a blood vessel is open or blocked, you can also inject contrast in the artery and then shut the Fluoroscopy machine to see if you have opened them or they are blocked, so that you don’t make a big incision.
Talking about the uniqueness of Fluoroscopy, Dr. Gerald pointed out that it has a low radiation output; it is very portable and can be moved about easily in the operating theatre; it has a screen and whatever formation you shoot during the operation is viewed and stored in the machine, and you can collect the film later and even share it online with colleagues to see and make recommendations. More interestingly, you can equally carry out surgery using the high tech equipment while colleagues watch live from elsewhere.
Dr. Tagakou Mboula, an Orthopedic and Trauma surgeon at BHM, says with the C-ARM Fluoroscopy machine, you can easily operate without cutting through the skin of the patient, bleeding and post operation complications are controlled, the surgeon can easily visualize ongoing surgery through its video component, it reduces the number of incisions made during such operations, reduces time the patients uses to go to the x-ray machine and come back, provides updates, speed and accuracy as surgery progresses.
The Orthopedic and Trauma surgeon added that, “Since the arrival of this machine, we perform an average of three operations in a week especially in children who are usually post anemic due to bleeding during operations. But with this machine, bleeding is controlled and operations that could take three hours are now done in minutes.”
The second machine is known as the cystoscopy tower machine and BHM is the only known Hospital in the Southwest Region of Cameroon in possession of it. The machine can also be adapted and used as a laboratory Fluoroscopy. It can also be used to do neurology surgery and diagnoses of illnesses like strictures, stones and used for interventions such as the prostrate if you have all the equipment together. Some of these equipment in BHM theatre include; Cystoscopy tower machine and Glostovent Anesthesia machine.
According to Dr. Henry Ndasi, Chief Medical Officer, Specialist in Orthopedic and General Surgery at BHM, there are some operations that cannot be done without the C-Arm. He adds that the third set of machines which are also called Endoscopy and Arthroscopy machines were bought by the hospital and used for diagnoses especially for gastric ulcers has helped a lot in the operating rooms.
All these newly acquired equipment have recently been a pull of attention to patients who flock in from far and near to be operated upon at Baptist Hospital Mutengene. Reports say the machines have improved on diagnoses, made surgery and care for patients more precise and minimized complications as accuracy is the watchword.