STATE of the art technology and a new neurosurgeon in town is allowing people across western Victoria access to complex spinal surgery in Ballarat.
Put into action this month, St John of God Ballarat Hospital’s high-powered surgical microscope has already allowed neurosurgeon Tom Morris to operate on patients in the past fortnight that would otherwise have been forced to travel to Melbourne.
The new technology also allows a surgeon to use minimally invasive techniques.
St John of God Ballarat peri-operative services manager Troy Tregilles said the technology investment and recruitment of Dr Morris was a game-changer for the wider region.
“We can do complex surgery, but we can do them with complete safety,” Mr Tregilles said.
“We’ve already picked up a couple of cases...We didn’t have the infrastructure before, but this equipment can help make surgery faster, safer and a with lot more vision.”
Ballarat hospitals could previously conduct decompressive spinal work, alleviating pressure on nerve roots, under the now-retired orthopeadic surgeon John Nelson.
Dr Morris is an Australian-trained brain, spine and peripheral nerve specialist, which will give St John of God Ballarat the capability to expand into areas like brain surgery for tumours with the right equipment and support in the future.
Mr Tregilles said there was the potential to help keep people closer to home when they needed such complex surgery, without the hassle and stresses of having to travel and stay in Melbourne.
Patients undergoing complex spinal surgeries need a considerable amount of recovery time in hospital.
Mr Tregilles said some patients could previously transfer back to Ballarat to recuperate and for rehabilitation. Now, there is the chance to remain in Ballarat.
Mr Tregilles said Dr Morris would continue doing more intricate neurosurgery in Melbourne but had made a strong commitment to region and was looking to move to Ballarat, where he had family ties.