Friday September 1, 2023

Gynaecologist and advanced laparoscopic surgeons, Dr Shamitha Kathurusinghe and Dr Lior Levy has initiated a combined service, to offer surgery with Dr Naseem Mirbagheri and Dr Vinna An from the Eastern Health colorectal team for patients with severe endometriosis and bowel involvement.

“Patients with endometriosis can have severe disease that causes significant start scarring across many of their organs, and this surgery is highly complex.

“In Melbourne there are sites that perform this combined surgery but for the Eastern corridor of Victoria, this has not been the case.  Having this service means that patients can actually have surgery close to their home, knowing that we are still providing the expert level care that they deserve,” she said.

The combined endometriosis and bowel surgery gives hope to people who have been waiting for surgery across both areas of their body impacted by the chronic health condition.

“One of our pertinent practices is to avoid injury such as a bowel injury. And when patients have endometriosis involving the bowel, it can go straight through the bowel, causing significant concerns for the patient but also for us as surgeons. Having the colorectal team support us by doing the surgery together, means that we’re having better patient outcomes, we’re performing safer surgery and the patients actually end up receiving the adequate treatment,” Dr Kathurusinghe explained.

Dr Kathurusinghe along with fellow gynaecologist and advanced laparoscopic surgeon, Dr Lior Levy have trained with specialist teams around the world to perform this combined surgery.

Gynaecologist and advanced laparoscopic surgeons, Dr Lior Levy and Dr Shamitha Kathurusinghe

“We’ll look throughout the whole abdominal cavity and do the diagnosis. Then we remove the endometriosis lesions which can be located very close to vital organs such as the bowel, the bladder, and other important structures.

“When the lesions are involving the rectum or the bowel, we then hand over to the colorectal surgeon who take out the lesion from the bowel. This involves sometimes taking out a piece of the bowel, which is called bowel resection. In some other cases, that colorectal surgeon manages to take out the endometriosis lesion without taking or without harming the bowel itself,” Dr Levy explained.

Whilst endometriosis causes constant and debilitating pain to those suffering from the condition, impacts on the bowel can lead to further complications.

“Having this surgery means they can have the procedure done in a minimally invasive way means that patients can have the disease completely treated, lead to a return back to their quality of life. When this combined surgery is done, it is curative for some patients; it’s life changing for them,” Dr Kathurusinghe said.

Women’s Health Week 4 – 8 September 2023