Foreign doctors learn thyroid laparoscopy technique in Vietnam

By Le Nga   July 9, 2019 | 12:32 am PT
Foreign doctors learn thyroid laparoscopy technique in Vietnam
Saudi Arabian doctor Hassan Uthman Uthman Alghamdi (R) and Vietnamese doctor Tran Ngoc Luong, who invented a low-cost thyroid laparoscopy technique, perform a thyroid surgery at the National Hospital Endocrinology in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nga.
An advanced technique devised by a Vietnamese doctor for thyroid laparoscopy is bringing doctors from other countries to Vietnam.

Doctor Hassan Uthman Uthman Alghamdi, general surgery consultant at the Prince Mishari Bin Saud Hospital in Saudi Arabia, is the latest among more than 300 doctors in different parts of the world who have come to the National Endocrinology Hospital in Hanoi to learn the technique.

Devised by Associate Professor Tran Ngoc Luong, director of the Hanoi hospital, the technique involves conducting endoscopic surgery through small incisions ranging from 0.5 to 1 centimeters on the patient’s armpit and chest. It leaves very small scars a few months after the surgery, and they are completely covered by clothing.

The technique could be applied for all types of thyroid diseases including tumors, basedow and thyroid cancer.

On July 4, the Vietnam Book of Records recognized doctor Luong for a "scientific research on thyroid endoscopic surgery that has been the most applied, transferred and trained at home and abroad."

After arriving in Vietnam last week, doctor Hassan has already attended a thyroid laparoscopy surgery using doctor Luong’s technique. The operation lasted just 30 minutes and Hassan was impressed.

"It is a perfect, quick and safe technique that does not leave scars, which makes it aesthetical too," Hassan said.

He said that in Saudi Arabia, doctors still carry out open surgery which has a longer recovery time and leaves a long scar on the neck.

Dr. Luong first used his method, which has since been named after him, in 2003 and so far, over 300 medical workers from foreign countries have come to Vietnam to learn the thyroid laparoscopy technique.

Doctor Satish Nair from India’s Apollo Hospital said he has successfully applied the method at his hospital after a course in Vietnam.

Doctor Kee Yuan from Singapore National University Hospital said the method has more advantages than those currently used in the region and other parts of the world.

Yuan said he was also impressed with the low cost of the method, which has been transferred to many countries including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Portugal and Thailand.

The cost for a thyroid surgery using the Dr. Luong method is less than 5 percent of the costs for techniques used in other countries.

To remove a thyroid gland, hospitals in South Korea or Singapore will charge patients $8,000-10,000 for a surgery lasting two hours, but with the Dr. Luong technique, it would cost just $300-400 for a 30-minute surgery.

Last year, the Ministry of Health recorded more than 300,000 foreigners coming to Vietnam for health treatment, up 50 percent against five years ago.

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