Dubai: A successful keyhole resection of an expatriate’s food pipe in the UAE has given him a second chance at life.

Dr Ali Al Dameh, eminent oncology surgeon conducted the key hole, high risk oesophagus resection surgery on an Egyptian expatriate at the Emirates Speciality Hospital on December 10 and the patient is back on his feet, recuperating very well with his cancer in remission.

Elaborating on the procedure which was conducted for the first time at the Dubai Health Care City, Dr Al Dameh, New Zealander with a fellowship in surgery from the Harvard Medical School, Boston, told Gulf News: “Usually a patient with oesophageal cancer faces almost certain death sentence. But this surgery for patients in Stage 1 to Stage II cancer presents a very good prognosis for completely recovery.”

The patient, Ahmad Khairy, 52, an Egyptian expatriate banker from Abu Dhabi told Gulf News that when he began sensing an obstruction in his abdomen after eating food in August 2018, he underwent many diagnostic tests. “An endoscopy confirmed that there was a mass and a biopsy further confirmed it to be malignant.”

Khairy, then underwent five cycles of chemotherapy and 25 cycles of radiotherapy to clear the cancer which was in Stage I. “However, the best way to ensure that I remained cancer free was to surgically remove a major part of my food pipe and use a portion of my stomach to reconstruct a new one.”

Khairy was all set to fly to Germany for the surgery when someone told him about Dr Al Dameh, a surgeon from New Zealand working at Al Tawam and other hospitals who worked at Harvard formerly and had great experience in carrying out this surgery. “I was happy to meet Dr Al Dameh, a surgeon of international repute and relieved to know I could undergo the surgery in Dubai. The other alternative was to fly to Germany where it would have cost me over 65,000 euros (Dh270,863).”

Khairy’s surgery was covered by his health insurance and after being in the ICU for a month prior to the surgery and recuperating for over 45 days post-surgery, he has been able to resume his normal routines. “I am still using a feeding tube for my meals and will be weaned off soon after my next appointment,” added Khairy.

How it was done

Dr Al Dameh elaborated on the 12-hour oesophageal resection and reconstruction surgery that was done with minimal invasion to ensure quick recovery. “We started from the abdomen where a part of the patient’s stomach was shaped into a tube. Moving to the chest again through the laparoscope, we resected two-thirds of the patient’s oesophagus. We then pulled the reshaped tube-like portion of the stomach and reattached it to the remaining part of the oesophagus in his chest. Now the patient has a real chance at survival and tests reveal that his cancer is in remission.”