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The Queen's Medical Center is in the process of developing a world-class minimally invasive surgery program. The field includes general surgery as well as orthopedic, urologic, gynecologic, thoracic and many other types of surgeries, including bariatric surgery. As a part of the minimally invasive surgery program Queen's will also launch a Comprehensive Weight Management Program on March 1, 2004.

Minimally invasive surgery requires different surgical skills than traditional open surgery. Laparoscopic surgeons insert a thin, lighted viewing lens (laparoscope) into the body to manipulate surgical instruments while watching a monitor in the operating room. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery are smaller incisions, better cosmetics, quicker recovery and decreased wound complications.

Queen's surgeons already perform a wide range of minimally invasive procedures. However, the discipline has never before been formally organized. Kenric Murayama, MD, FACS, has been brought in to facilitate the practices of surgeons who already perform minimally invasive surgery here and to develop the infrastructure so Queen's can move ahead as an institution. A premier minimally invasive surgery program at Queen's will promote patient safety, improved skills and better outcomes. Murayama is medical director of both QMC's Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery and of the Comprehensive Weight Management Program. He is also Professor of Surgery, Vice Chair for Clinical and Hospital Affairs and Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Program at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Formerly of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Murayama was director of the Northwestern Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery and Technology, Associate Professor of Surgery and Assistant Program Director for the Residency in General Surgery.

Two Queen's OR's will be redesigned--what Murayama calls OR's of the future--to be among the most advanced in the country. The redesigned OR's will allow multi-disciplinary minimally invasive surgery teams to focus on the patient, increasing safety. For example, floor cords will be eliminated, while equipment will be at eye level to minimize back and neck strain. Laparoscopic instrumentation will be standardized to improve patient safety, increase physician and staff efficiency, and reduce possible confusion and error.

A surgical skills training facility will be built to retool practicing surgeons, if they so desire, with the skills necessary to perform advanced laparoscopic procedures. It will also allow trainees to learn in a laboratory setting before participating in actual patient care. The training facility, says Murayama, is critical to the credentialing of future competent surgeons.

The Queen's Medical Center will soon provide Hawai’i with a minimally invasive surgery program that offers everything from basic gallbladder removal to advanced laparoscopic procedures.

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