Bongani Chauke* was born with a tumour on his brain. He needed lifesaving surgery within the first few days of his life. Bongani was transferred from a local hospital in Johannesburg to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital’s (NMCH) state-of-the-art neurosurgery theatre to undergo an operation to have the tumour removed.
Bongani is just one of more than a thousand children who have received life-saving treatment at the hospital, which celebrated one year of operations on 21 June. Along with performing neurosurgeries, NMCH has opened various critical services namely: Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Units (the largest in the country), Cardiology, Renal, Radiology, Cardiothoracic surgery and General Paediatric surgery.
Neurosurgery procedures range from large cases such as tumour and cyst removals from the brain and spinal cord, to smaller cases such as the insertion of stents for hydrocephalus patients.
The majority of neurosurgery patients admitted to the NMCH are between zero and three years old. “Most of the babies are born with congenital abnormalities, which need to be repaired in the first few days of their lives. This is, of course, delicate work which requires intense focus,” says neurosurgeon, Dr Jason Labuschagne.
The work of the medical staff is made easier with high-quality medical equipment such as the ZEISS OPMI Pentero 900 Microscope, which boasts state-of-the-art magnification and illumination, ensuring doctors have a crystal-clear view of all neural structures and are able to remove tumours safely.
This microscope also has a co-observation tube, which allows viewers to observe the neurosurgeon’s procedures. The ZEISS OPMI Pentero 900 is integrated with the hospital’s software and allows for all procedures to be recorded for research and teaching purposes.
Tumours are amongst the top three types of cancer in children, only second to leukaemia and lymphoma. “The work is complex, but it’s also rewarding to know that we can give our young patients a better chance of leading normal and healthy lives,” adds Labuschagne.
ZEISS Microsurgery Product Manager, Hendrik Crous, says the lenses on ZEISS Microsurgery equipment are world-leading. “They are the product of 200 years of ongoing refinement and the most widely-used microscopes in South Africa.”
“We are proud that the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital chose our microscope for its neurosurgery division. We believe it enhances the doctors’ chances of saving the precious young lives they hold in their hands on a daily basis.”
*Name changed to protect privacy.