B.C. has its first ultra-high magnification microscope

Dr. Imran Ratanshi, a plastic surgeon at Surrey Memorial Hospital, said the equipment allowing access to the lymphatic system was available only in select hospitals around the world.

Vancouver Sun 2 minute read October 7, 2021

Surrey Memorial Hospital on King George Highway. Francis Georgian / PNG

Breast cancer patients suffering from lymphedema will be able to receive microsurgery at Surrey Memorial Hospital to alleviate the chronic condition.

In a prepared statement, the Surrey Hospitals Foundation said it had spent $1.5 million on B.C.’s first ultra-high magnification microscope — needed to perform surgery on the lymphatic system — and a Spy Phi camera system needed to see and assess the lymphatic system

Dr. Imran Ratanshi, a plastic surgeon at the hospital, said this equipment allowing access to the lymphatic system was available only in select hospitals around the world, and that Surrey Memorial Hospital was now one of those.

He said that breast cancer surgery often involved the removal of lymph nodes, or they were part removed for assessment, and this could lead to lymphedema — where fluid accumulates in the arms and creates a high risk of infection and other problems.

Lymphedema can also be the result of cancer treatment in the head and neck (as well as sarcomas), radiation treatment, the removal of lymph nodes or direct traumatic injury to lymphatic channels.

“Surrey Hospitals Foundation is proud to be supporting the new Surgical Lymphatic Reconstruction Program and expanding the Breast Health Program at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre with the purchase of these game-changing medical technologies,” said Jane Adams, President and CEO of Surrey Hospitals Foundation.

The foundation is fundraising to upgrade the 10-year-old Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre with a goal of $8 million by end of 2021. Pattison is matching donations up to $4 million to help invest in critical diagnostic medical equipment for the centre.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.