Minimally invasive foot and ankle surgical approaches now available in SA
Keyhole surgeries for foot and ankle problems offered at Gauteng hospitals
“Minimally invasive surgery, or surgery undertaken through smaller ‘keyhole’ incisions, has become increasingly popular across many fields of medicine in recent years. The advantages it offers over conventional surgery, such as smaller incisions, hold great appeal for patients, particularly as it usually enables them to get back on their feet more quickly.”
This is the view of Dr Ziyaad Mayet, an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in foot and ankle surgery, who practises at Netcare Mulbarton Hospital south of Johannesburg, and is now offering minimally invasive surgery for a wide range of foot and ankle problems.
“The techniques and technologies used internationally for minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery have advanced to such an extent in recent years, that we believe it represents the future of treatment for patients who will benefit from this approach,” he notes.
Dr Mayet has undergone highly specialised, accredited training in Spain and he and his team have already completed a number of minimally invasive surgeries at Netcare Mulbarton Hospital.
These have included ligament repairs; correction of foot deformities including bunions, a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe; bone fusions, as well as endoscope-assisted surgery to correct various pathologies of the feet and ankles.
He says among the most noteworthy of these procedures was the successful correction of bunions and lesser toe deformities.
Dr Mayet, who also practises in the public sector at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, observes that while many foot and ankle problems can be treated using keyhole procedures, it is not appropriate for all patients. A thorough assessment by an orthopaedic specialist is required to determine what the most appropriate approach to each patient’s particular condition will be.
Netcare South West regional director, Sandile Mbele, congratulated Dr Mayet and his team for introducing the advanced, minimally invasive option for foot and ankle conditions requiring surgical intervention at Netcare Mulbarton Hospital.
“Netcare strongly supports advanced approaches to surgery which have shown improved clinical outcomes and other benefits for patients, such as reduced recovery times. Minimally invasive procedures usually require a shorter hospital stay and assist in lowering the risk of post-operative wound infection. It also has cosmetic benefits for patients when compared with traditional full-incision surgery,” notes Mbele.
“We are most grateful to Dr Mayet and his team for having introduced this important new state-of-the-art service to the benefit of our patients.”
Dr Mayet says that patients undergoing foot and ankle surgery should be aware that, even though the recovery periods for minimally invasive procedures are usually much shorter than for traditional surgery, they still have to allow time for a full recovery, and that they are still likely to experience some swelling during this time.
He explains that the development of minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery has been spurred on by the development of two important technologies, namely the burr, which is an instrument used to shape bones, and the endoscope, a tiny camera that enables surgeons to see inside the joints and is used to guide certain minimally invasive procedures.
“In 2002, a group of French surgeons formed GRECMIP [Groupe d’recherche et d’etude minimal invasive du pied, or Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Foot Research and Study Group] — an organisation dedicated to the study and development of minimally invasive surgical approaches for conditions of the foot and ankle — and they have been among the most important drivers behind this type of treatment intervention internationally,” adds Dr Mayet.
“GRECMIP have developed training courses for surgeons, most of whom were initially from Europe. In recent years, however, GRECMIP have also started providing training to surgeons from across the globe and these techniques have increasingly been adopted and gained in popularity in both Europe and the United States.
“I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to complete the basic and advanced GRECMIP courses in minimally invasive surgery of the foot, and obtain a formal qualification in this, and am tremendously excited to have brought this knowledge and expertise to patients in South Africa.”
“With the advent of robotic-assisted surgery and other technologies, minimally invasive surgery has become an increasingly important tool for today’s surgeons across a number of disciplines of medicine.
Now, with the techniques and technologies becoming so refined in the area of foot and ankle surgery, it is likely that this is going to become the gold standard of treatment for selected patients in future,” concludes Dr Mayet.