Multitude of firsts for Capital Super Speciality Hospital’s state-of-the-art urology unit

Dr Shiven Ramkissoon, specialist urologist and Dr Jamila Chellan, hospital manager at Capital Super Specialty Hospital.

Dr Shiven Ramkissoon, specialist urologist and Dr Jamila Chellan, hospital manager at Capital Super Specialty Hospital.

Published Dec 10, 2023


CAPITAL Super Speciality Hospital’s world-class urology unit, run by Dr Shiven Ramkissoon, recently announced two groundbreaking South African firsts.

Under the guidance of Dr Ramkissoon, the facility has not only become a well-established training centre for surgeons across South Africa, it is also an international training centre with surgeons from all over the world being trained in workshops held at the institution.

Capital Hospital’s urology unit offers a myriad breakthrough technologies to its patients, including laparoscopic surgery and a dedicated men’s health unit specialising in modern prostate procedures.

Laser technology

Prostate health is a huge concern to men globally. Surgery for an obstructing prostate is the second most commonly carried out procedure worldwide. Historically, a variety of techniques have been utilised to address this problem. The laser prostatectomy, performed with a Holmium laser (Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate or simply Holep), has revolutionised the management of this condition.

Holeps result in a much shorter hospital stay (typically a day) compared to the traditional procedures carried out for an obstructing prostate (three to five days). This allows patients to return to their daily lives and normal function much quicker.

Present at the most recent training session were (from left) Mertle Vurden, Theatre Matron; Dr Alexander Szpytko, urologist at Mediclinic Stellenbosch; Dr Shiven Ramkissoon; Dr Sumesh Padayachee, urologist at Netcare Rosebank, Johannesburg; and Dr Jamila Chellan.

In a breakthrough development for Capital’s prostate unit, the hospital has acquired the world leader in laser technologies – a 150W Quanta system – which is a South African first. Only a handful of centres of excellence worldwide are able to offer this superior technology to patients – placing Capital at the global forefront of this treatment.

The newly acquired 150W laser replaces the outgoing 105W machine purchased by Capital three years ago. At that stage, it was the world’s leading technology - highlighting the centre’s mission to remain abreast of advances and invest in the latest technology for the benefit of the community. Currently, this is the most powerful machine in KwaZulu-Natal and remains one of, if not the best in the country.

The benefit of this new laser over standard machines is the quicker operating time and resultant shorter anaesthetic time, which allow for safer outcomes for patients and a quicker return to normal function.

Rezum pilot

The second development within the urology unit is the launch of the Rezum pilot, which was approved by Discovery Medical Scheme. This is a form of vapour treatment for an enlarged prostate. The vapour results in thermal energy shrinking the obstructing portion of the gland over a period of time, which allows patients afflicted with this difficulty to urinate more easily.

This form of treatment is well-entrenched and established in first world countries, but until recently was not reimbursed by schemes. Patients using this technology would have to pay cash, irrespective of whether they were on medical aid or not. After much discussion, Discovery selected Capital’s unit as the only unit in KZN, and one of three in South Africa, where it would reimburse the Rezum procedure within the confines of a pilot study.

Capital Super Speciality Hospital’s specialised urology theatre team.

Leading expertise

Dr Ramkissoon is a world-renowned urologist practising at Capital Hospital. He has spoken at many congresses both nationally and internationally, and has been involved in training other urologists in highly specialised, minimally invasive surgery locally and abroad. This year he spoke at the European Association of Urology conference in Milan, one of the most recognised platforms within the profession; participated in live surgery at the Koaceli University in Turkey; and formed part of a group of urologists who convened in Sofia, Bulgaria to discuss the robotic application of laser prostatectomies.

Furthermore, he was an invited faculty member lecturing on techniques of, and supervising minimally invasive renal surgery for international trainees at RMK AIMES in Istanbul.

He is one of only a handful of surgeons carrying out both Holep and Rezum procedures; having learnt this from international centres of excellence.

Dr Ramkissoon has performed more than 250 laser prostatectomies, making him one of the most experienced Holep surgeons in South Africa. He was selected from the limited number of South African surgeons carrying out Holep, to perform the live surgical demonstration of a televised Holep case at the national biennial Urological Surgical workshop held at Groote Schuur Hospital earlier this year.

He was also the first urologist to launch Rezum vapour therapy in private practice in South Africa, with the first case successfully performed at Capital.

In addition to having trained many surgeons at this state-of-the-art facility, Dr Ramkissoon also trains surgeons at their centres across South Africa as well as in neighbouring countries.

Men’s health, and urology in particular, is a rapidly changing field with new advances being made almost daily.

Capital Hospital strives to remain true to its mission statement of “keeping pace with changes, investing in the best for the betterment of our community and constantly striving to work with medical schemes to bring affordable world-class treatment to the people of KZN”.