JUTH successfully conducts 12-hour breast reconstructive surgery

The Benue-born doctor, who described the surgery as expensive, called on the government to consider subsidising the procedure to make it affordable to indigent people.

The Jos University Teaching Hospital (JuTH), has successfully conducted a 12-hours breast reconstructive surgery for a cancer survivor whose breast was amputated.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday in Jos, the team of Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons, who conducted the surgery, defined the procedure as a process that involved the use of tissue from other parts of the body or implants to reconstruct the breast.

Dr Kasu Orkar, a consultant Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, from Queen Victoria NHS Trust, East Grinstead, UK, the lead surgeon, who performed the procedure, explained that the surgery was a complex one.

Orkar said a tissue had to be removed from the stomach area, with a bloodstream to recreate the breast shape.

He said the surgery, the first of its kind in Northern Nigeria, was being carried out for the second time in JUTH, as the first procedure was conducted in August this year.

The surgeon described the procedure as a ”very uncommon procedure in the country due to its technicality”.

”This procedure is a very technical one, as it also involves microsurgery to get the tissues before the reconstructive process itself.

”The timing for the procedure usually takes six hours to conduct, but this particular one took 12 hours to conduct due to some issues,” he said.

On whether the reconstructed breast could still give milk to babies, Orkar said the mother would not be able to breastfeed with it.

”The breast is a specialised tissue which has special glands that develop as the female is developing, therefore, it is impossible to recreate it with its specialised functions.

“The reconstructed breast cannot be used to breastfeed, but the reconstructed tissue looks like a breast,” he explained.

According to Orkar, the procedure has enormous psychological benefits to the patient, their well-being, as well as their performance in life generally, as it usually also boosts their confidence.

The Benue-born doctor, who described the surgery as expensive, called on the government to consider subsidising the procedure to make it affordable to indigent people.

Prof. Simon Yiltok, a consultant Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, from JUTH, who was part of the team who conducted the procedure, said the procedure was also a step down of knowledge and transference of skills.

Yiltok said it was also aimed at developing capacity, and in no distant time JUTH would be Nigeria’s hub for the training of other doctors in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery..

According to him, the procedure also reduces the spate and cost of medical tourism, since the surgery can be done here at a cheaper rate, compared to the cost of having it abroad.

Yiltok appealed to the government to support JUTH as some specific microscopes were required to carry out the procedure.

He noted that the microscope that was currently being used in conducting the breast reconstructive surgery was the one for neurosurgery, which was making the procedure cumbersome.

Mrs Rachel Oguh, the patient, who came from Warri, Delta State, for the surgery, commended JUTH for its professionalism and care during the procedure.

Ough urged other survivors of breast cancer to embrace the opportunity of having reconstructive surgery in the country as it was cheaper.

NAN reports that the lead surgeon, Orkar, was the first Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in JUTH, who trained other surgeons before relocating to the UK.

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