4 November 2019 Featured News

$1.7m surgical navigation equipment provides better outcomes for kids with bone cancer

Queensland kids with bone cancer will benefit from better outcomes after surgery, thanks to cutting-edge 3D surgical navigation technology made possible by the generous support of Queenslanders.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation has funded the $1.7 million equipment, making the Queensland Children’s Hospital the first in Australia to use the technology in a paediatric cancer setting.

Surgeons are now able to save more of a child’s arm, leg or pelvis, by using the technology to accurately navigate around cancerous bone tumours, helping them to remove less healthy bone and joints located close the tumour. This will give children with bone cancer better function of their affected limb after surgery, and ultimately a better quality of life.

Queensland Children’s Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Dr Peter Steadman said the new equipment enabled surgical teams to merge images from three scans to provide a 3D image of a tumour, allowing for better planning and execution of an operation – and ultimately lower the risk of some tumour being left behind.

“Previously, children with bone cancers may have required multiple surgeries to successfully remove a tumour,” Dr Steadman said.

“In some cases, this technology will mean surgeons can save a whole joint. This can make a huge difference to a child’s life after surgery – by preserving a joint, you’re preserving function.”

The new technology also aims to create better operating conditions for sick kids by reducing surgery time and blood loss and improving their recovery time.

There is also the potential for this 3D navigation equipment to improve outcomes for patients from other surgical specialties in the future.

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Phillips, of Cairns, was one of the first paediatric patients with osteosarcoma to have benefited from the new technology. Charlotte underwent surgery at the Queensland Children’s Hospital last month to remove the tumour from her humerus bone (upper arm bone) at the shoulder.

Dr Steadman said Charlotte’s surgery went very well: “There’s a good chance she’ll be able to get her arm back up over her shoulder so she can play basketball again.”

Each year, the Queensland Children’s Hospital performs around 30 surgeries for children with bone cancer.

Children’s Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Rosie Simpson said: “We’re committed to giving sick and injured Queensland kids the best care, treatments and outcomes.

“This state-of-the-art equipment is the latest example of how donations to the Children’s Hospital Foundation can help change the lives of Queensland kids and their families.

“We’re thrilled that Charlotte’s surgery went so well and that all Queensland kids with bone cancers will be able to benefit from this equipment going forward.”

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