KTSM: Borderland Doctor Working to Reduce Surgical Injuries
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - One Borderland doctor is hoping to change the way surgeries are done across the country by reducing the number of injuries during hysterectomies.
Las Palmas Medical Center is currently the only site in the world that's enrolling patients in a clinical trial for a new fluorescent chemical.
Dr. Richard Farnam says the purpose of that chemical is to protect the ureter, a tube that connects the kidney to the bladder, during certain surgeries.
"When we switch our camera to the near infrared imaging, it fluoresces, and we actually can see the exact location of this organ, of this tube, of the ureter. So like Superman, we can see through the tissue."
According to Dr. Farnam, 600,000 women in the U.S. have a hysterectomy every year. About 1% of the time, the ureter gets injured because it's located deep within the tissue and can't be seen.
"It's certainly our hope that this could change the standard of care and the way that we practice medicine. And it's such a fantastic thing for our community to be able to say that we started this. It started here," adds Dr. Farnam.
He says 19 patients have had surgery with the chemical.
"We're happy to report there's no adverse side effect, which is always one of the things we're concerned about," he said.