A University of Leeds-led project that is developing low-cost laparoscopic (keyhole) surgical equipment and training for developing countries has won a Global Surgery Award at the 2019 ASiT International Surgical Conference in Belfast.
The Global Surgery Award, delivered by the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT), recognises projects endeavouring to support surgical training in low-resource settings.
The award was established after a recent Lancet Commission on Global Surgery found that an estimated 5 billion people are unable to access safe surgery, and an additional 143 million surgical procedures required annually to address this unmet demand.
Project leads Dr William Bolton and Dr Pete Culmer, who work as part of the NIHR Global Health Research Group, identified that surgeons in rural parts of East India and Sierra Leone experience significant challenges that prevent them from performing conventional laparoscopic surgery. The most substantial are for piped medical grade-gases, air tight equipment and a general anaesthetic, all of which greatly incur significant costs.
Through the Translate MedTech summer student project scheme, they secured funding to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of medical and engineering students to address the main challenges that prevent the translation of gasless lift laparoscopic surgery (GLLS) into clinical practice more widely.
Gasless laparoscopic surgery is an innovative solution as it significantly reduces the procedural costs of the operation and so has the potential to enable doctors working in rural parts of developing countries to carry out life-saving surgery.
Dr William Bolton said: “This project brought together a young dynamic team coordinated through our NIHR MedTech Foundation, an initiative which provides training, support and opportunities to encourage students and early-career researchers into multidisciplinary MedTech research. We look forward to building on this work with new projects, and students, this year and into the future.”
To learn more about the project, and its potential impact, watch the video below.
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