After 20 years of teaching the next generation of surgeons in London, Dr. John Denstedt hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for sharing his expertise. Now, through the magic of technology, the knowledge and skill of the acclaimed urologist is reaching farther than ever – around the world in fact.
Through interactive two way audio-video broadcasts, Dr. Denstedt, Chair/Chief of Surgery Services at St. Joseph’s, has demonstrated live procedures to surgical audiences in Brazil and across China.
"Personally and professionally it’s rewarding because you can see where you are making a difference," says Dr. Denstedt, the author of more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters and a sought after guest professor in countries around the world. "Helping to train those 250 surgeons (in China) can translate to care for 100 million people in Sichuan Province alone. It’s an amazing ripple effect."
Audiences of the live broadcasts are provided with several views of the patient and the operating room, and internal views of the surgery itself through a camera scope, giving them a unique opportunity to learn cutting edge techniques. They can also ask questions during the broadcast, adding to the real time training and collaboration.
In recent months, Dr. Denstedt demonstrated two kidney stone removal procedures to 30 surgeons in Sao Paulo Brazil. He also, along with fellow St. Joseph’s urologist Dr. Stephen Pautler, delivered lectures and live surgeries - a complex kidney stone case and a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer - during a trip to West China Hospital in Chengdu, China.
Sharing our knowledge with the world on this scale has benefits for everyone – experienced surgeons and students alike, explains Dr. Denstedt. "Because of China’s higher population they often have a mass volume of specific cases. When we apply our expertise to help treat these groups of patients, both sides gain knowledge on a larger scale then we could with the one or two cases of the same condition we would see here in Canada."
Dr. Denstedt, who was recently appointed special advisor on health globalization, internationalization and simulation for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, hopes to expand broadcasted teaching and training opportunities.
"It may be possible to broadcast such sessions across an entire country by linking and networking centres. This teaching platform enables experienced surgeons to mentor teams on new techniques and collaborate on complex cases while eliminating time, distance and cost barriers."
Closer to home, meanwhile, onsite training within the operating rooms and laboratories of St. Joseph’s is also an important focus. Training of surgeons takes place in such specialties as hand and upper limb surgery, plastic surgery, eye surgery, urologic and gynecologic surgery, and head and neck surgery
In March 2012, St. Joseph’s installed the newest daVinci Surgical System that has the latest robotic skill simulator allowing surgeons to learn new techniques and keep their skills sharp. Surgery simulation is also a key tool in the surgical mechatronics laboratory of the Hand and Upper Limb Centre, where experts are working on the latest advances in joint implant technology.