April 12, 2004 – A surgical team at Roy L. Schneider Hospital recently removed a tumor from a patient's neck in a procedure that would not have been possible without equipment that recently became available.
Having "the equipment, the personnel, the instruments and the new microscope to lead us in a difficult dissection" made "a big difference," Dr. Roy Schneider said of the hour and a half operation on April 6 in which he and Dr. Boniface Abba removed the non-cancerous tumor.
Abba and Schneider are surgical oncologists, specialists in tumor-related surgery.
He said the hospital's new Licha microscope, developed for use in neurosurgery, aided the team in identifying key structures inside the patient's neck. As the surgeons dissected the mass, which had grown larger than a chicken egg, they needed to identify key nerves and arteries nearby.
At one point, Schneider identified the machismo muscle, which encircles the front of the neck, extending from the chin to the clavicle. Harming it could affect the patient's ability to control her facial expressions, he said.
The woman, who had lived with the tumor for years, had been told that nothing could be done to remove it, Schneider said, "but we met with her and explained to her what we were going to do and indeed it worked."
The procedure was possible because of the new equipment, trained personnel and "a great sense of teamwork here at the hospital," Schneider said. "The hospital has invested a lot of money in new equipment and new personnel, and it shows." As a result, he added, many procedures that in the past have required patients to go off island "we can do here at the hospital."
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