Another groundbreaking medical procedure was performed by surgeons of Groote Schuur Hospital on Tuesday, 3 May.
According to reports, the first-ever corneal neurotisation procedure was performed by the hospital in South Africa, paving the way for many patients to benefit from this in the future.
The cornea is one of the most richly innervated tissues in the body and it relies on this nerve supply to maintain a healthy corneal surface.
If the nerve supply is damaged or absent, the cornea cannot maintain its integrity resulting in erosion of the corneal surface and eventually scarring and visual loss.
The surgery requires a collaborative effort with an ophthalmologist, a specialist doctor that diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, and a plastic surgeon.
However, the latest cutting-edge surgery is a testament to Groote Schuur Hospital’s proud track record as a tertiary health facility for the country’s best doctors, surgeons and nurses. The surgery was performed by Dr Hamzah Mustak and Dr Ben Moodie.
According to the patient that was operated on, 40-year-old Ms Ingrid Barge from Claremont, who suffered a type of stroke last year in September that affected her trigeminal nerve, resulting in a loss of sensation to the right side of her face including the eye.
“My eye kept getting irritated. I am so excited to be the first patient to be operated on. I hope the results of the operation will be successful and bring hope to the others who also need it,” Barge said.
Commenting on the surgery Dr Mustak said: “We have many patients with this problem which is very difficult to treat and usually results in vision loss. At Groote Schuur Hospital we have approximately 150 patients who need this surgery. I was lucky to have been to Los Angeles in the United States to get training on techniques to do this procedure.”
Mustak went on to say that he hopes this will be the start for more patients to be able to get the surgery done at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Meanwhile, Barge’s nerve will take some time to start working, usually between 3-6 months.