Nerve monitor welcomed at hospital

Surgeons at East Kootenay Regional Hospital are now better equipped for head and neck surgery.

Medtronic representative Jessica Rudd (left) delivered a $50

Surgeons at East Kootenay Regional Hospital are now better equipped for head and neck surgery.

Chief of surgery Dr. Ryan Cain took delivery of a new nerve integrity monitor on Friday, October 26, and performed two surgeries using the $50,000 equipment the same day.

“It gives you real time monitoring of the integrity of nerves in the head and neck,” said Dr. Cain.

The monitor is used by surgeons when dissecting tumours off nerves in the face so they can tell in real time whether nerve function has been preserved.

“This is a state-of-the-art machine,” said Dr. Cain. “It puts us on par with the latest and most up-to-date equipment.”

The hospital previously used an old-fashioned machine for this type of surgery, but it failed in the spring. Since then a wait list for head and neck surgeries has been growing.

“Interior Health found a way in a very tight budget,” said Dr. Cain. “It’s one of those unforeseen eventualities that pop up in the field of medicine.”

He said that the two head and neck surgeons in Cranbrook will perform two or three of these cases every two months.

“People appreciate having this work done here,” said Dr. Cain, rather than travelling to Calgary or Kelowna.