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World-first for Cape Town in endoscopic gynaecology

South Africa is among a handful of countries that can claim to be leading the way in the field of endoscopic gynaecology. So, it is fitting that we will be hosting the world’s first endoscopic gynaecology conference this month, from 13 to 17 April, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), write Bronwyn McArthur and Dominique Spies at Natmed Medical Defence.

The conference, hosted by the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG) at the CTICC, will feature a live endometriosis operation using a device that will enable the performing surgical team to link up with consultants and/or doctors in training. Additionally, SASREG boasts a range of international and local speakers – including an address by the presidents of the European Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the International Society of Gynaecologic Endoscopy. With the recent advancements in endoscopy and robotics, this conference is sure to be ground breaking.

It is nothing new that South Africa has produced several of the world’s best doctors and is home to more than a few significant “world firsts” in the medical field. Arguably, the most famous “world first” case occurred in 1967, when Chris Barnard performed the first-ever successful human heart transplant. His brother, Marius Barnard, then convinced South African insurance companies to come up with a product that would aid people financially when faced with critical illness. The world’s first critical illness insurance product was then launched in South Africa back in 1983.

South African-born Allan MacLeod Cormack developed the theoretical foundations of CAT (CT) scanning in Cape Town – back in 1956. His theories allowed Godfrey Hounsfield to develop the CT scan we know today. Both Cormack and Hounsfield were awarded, in 1979, with the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their contributions towards modern medicine.

The cryo-extraction method of cataract surgery was developed in 1965 by Dr Selig Percy Amoils at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto. Consulting with Nelson Mandela from around 1994, Amoils also extracted a cataract from Nelson Mandela’s eye using this method.

Next up, in December 2014, University of Stellenbosch professor Andre van der Merwe performed the world’s first penis transplant on a patient who had suffered an amputation, back in 2011, after a botched tribal circumcision led to gangrene.

More recently, in March 2019, Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team from the University of Pretoria performed the world’s first middle-ear transplant using 3D-printed bones at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

The full conference programme can be downloaded at:

This news release was provided by Natmed Medical Defence

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