Australian-First Paediatric Robotic Surgery
In an Australian-first paediatric procedure, Head and Neck surgeon Ben Dixon has successfully removed a patient’s rare, parapharyngeal clear-cell sarcoma using robotic surgery at Epworth Richmond.
Six-year-old Freyja Christiansen, who had a second surgery to remove the remaining tumours in her neck, is recovering well.
Dr Dixon was contacted by Freyja’s mother Liz Christiansen, after her desperate search for treatments overseas led to a conversation with Boston Children’s Hospital that mentioned the Melbourne specialist and his work.
“Freyja had received immunotherapy to shrink the sarcoma under the care of Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Director of Sydney Children’s Hospital Youth Cancer Service. However, no surgeon in Sydney had access to a robot in a hospital with a Paediatric ward; and the Royal Children’s in Melbourne did not have robotic surgical capabilities to perform this complex procedure.
“We knew that if Epworth could not take the case, it would have been difficult for Freyja to have her condition managed surgically in Australia.
Thankfully for the Christiansen family, Epworth and The Royal Children’s committed to a well-managed collaborative plan for standby arrangements, if Freyja needed admittance to a Paediatric ICU, should an emergency arise,” Dr Dixon said.
"The collaboration between doctors and directors at Epworth and the Children’s and the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER), enabled us to go ahead with very good results for Freyja.”
Watch Freyja's surgery (graphic content).
Demolition has started to make way for a 14-storey tower to be built next to the main part of the hospital to house an emergency department and a traditional Chinese medicine department.
Barb Heskey formed the first Friends of Freemasons Auxiliary in 2013 to raise funds from the Freemasons hospital. Since then she has raised over $17,000 which has gone a long way to improve the maternity unit at Epworth Freemasons.
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