WITH October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is timely for Surrey Hospitals Foundation to invest $1.5 million to support a new “game changing” surgical program for breast cancer surgery patients.
The new Advanced Microsurgical Lymphatic Reconstruction Program at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre will enable lead microsurgeons Dr. Imran Ratanshi and Dr. Jennifer Prince to conduct two life-changing microsurgeries, which are crucial for those with or have high-risk of developing lymphedema: Lymphatic to Vein Bypass and Canada’s first Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer.
“Surrey will be well-positioned to offer immediate and early reconstruction for patients at uniquely high risk for developing lymphedema, which is commonly caused by cancer or cancer treatment,” says Dr. Imran Ratanshi, a Lead Reconstructive Craniofacial Surgeon and Microsurgeon who works at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. “The Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s investment will allow us develop a new Lymphatic Reconstruction Program to perform these breakthrough microsurgeries to offer the next evolution of care for patients with breast and other aggressive cancers.”
The Lymphatic to Vein Bypass, or LV Bypass (1) and Vascularized Lymph Node Transfer, or VLNT (2) are breakthrough surgeries that employ microsurgical techniques to 1) re-route the lymphatic system, bypassing damaged nodes and connecting lymphatic channels to drain directly into the venous system; 2) transplant lymph nodes from a healthy part of the body to the affected area, promoting drainage and formation of new lymphatic channels. LV bypass can be done as same-day surgery, while VLNT requires a short hospital admission.
Lymphedema is a chronic disease that develops due to the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues when there is interference in the flow of fluid through lymphatic channels. This can result in fluid retention and lifelong swelling. In Canada, lymphedema is primarily caused by cancer treatment for breast, melanoma, head and neck, and sarcomas, including removal of lymph nodes and radiation, or direct traumatic injury to lymphatic channels. In developing countries, infection from filariasis remains the leading cause of lymphedema. Lymphedema can cause heavy limbs and functional limitations, along with a life-long need for compressive garments or expensive drainage therapy, and it carries a risk of life-threatening infections.
Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s $1.5 million investment will enable the Division of Plastic Surgery to purchase British Columbia’s first ultra-high magnification microscope, which is needed to perform super-microsurgery techniques, and a Spy Phi camera system, which is needed to visualize and evaluate lymphatic channels.
“Surrey Hospitals Foundation is proud to be supporting the new Surgical Lymphatic Reconstruction Program and expanding the Breast Health Program at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre with the purchase of these game-changing medical technologies,” says Jane Adams, President and CEO of Surrey Hospitals Foundation. “We are lucky to have the incredible talents of world-class surgeons like Dr. Prince and Dr. Ratanshi to help improve the health care of patients here in Surrey.”
Ratanshi is one of only few plastic surgeons in Canada with dual-subspecialty training in both Microvascular Reconstruction and Craniofacial Surgery. He has trained all around the world including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and other medical centres across the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Prince is a plastic surgeon with subspecialty training in microvascular reconstruction, whose practice extends to cancer reconstruction, breast surgery, hand and peripheral nerve surgery, and cosmetic surgery.
The Surrey Hospitals Foundation is currently fundraising to upgrade the 10-year-old Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre with a goal of $8 million by end of 2021. Canadian business icon Jim Pattison is matching donations up to $4 million to help invest in critical diagnostic medical equipment for the Centre.
For more information about the Surrey Hospitals Foundation, visit www.surreyhospitalsfoundation.