Monitor with tech

“Both my sons and my three granddaughters were born at WLMH, the staff provided excellent care.”

Mary Dinga

WLMH increasing minimally invasive surgeries in 2017

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 |

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) will be expanding its minimally invasive surgery program to include appendix removals, hernia repairs and gynecologic procedures such as hysterectomies in 2017.

“The expansion of these state-of-the-art laparoscopic procedures ensures that our patients have the same expectations as they would in a tertiary centre, in the convenience of their local hospital,” said Dr. Lenore Zettel, general surgeon, WLMH.

Often referred to as ‘keyhole’ surgery, the technique involves inflating the abdomen and creating small, ½” incisions -- anywhere from two to six keyholes, depending on the surgery. The surgeon then inserts a laparoscope -- a fibre optic light with a high definition camera, to explore the area of interest in real time while viewing on a monitor. Surgical instruments are inserted through additional keyholes to treat or remove the affected area.

There are many benefits of laparoscopic surgery, especially related to the individual’s recovery. Since the incisions are much smaller than open surgeries, minimally invasive procedures often have a shorter recovery period, less blood loss and less pain after surgery. As a result, patients may go home on the same or next day.

“With laparoscopic surgery, people are able to return to their normal lives quicker and there’s less risk for infection due to smaller incisions,” said Dr. Zettel.

Laparoscopic surgery at WLMH was first introduced in the 1990s with gall bladder removals. The evolution of these surgeries offered at the site builds on strong general and gynecologic surgery programs, including cancerous and non-cancerous breast disease, hernias, endoscopy, appendix removals, hysterectomies, urology, complex dental, ovarian cysts and tubal pregnancies.

The health professionals delivering the care are essential to the strength of this important program.

“The entire surgical team here is amazing.  Our nurses are very dedicated, highly skilled, ‘silent heros’ who absolutely love their patients and this hospital,” said Caroline Mitchell, Clinical Manager, Perioperative and Day Surgery. “Our program is only getting stronger with the evolution of day surgeries at the site by this incredible team, and by having access to a broad network of education and resources though Hamilton Health Sciences.”

Fundraising has been an essential part of the growth of the laparoscopic program. The WLM Auxiliary pledged $170,000 to support the purchase of new laparoscopic equipment.

Additionally, one of several priorities of this year’s Trees of Healthy Wishes campaign includes the purchase of two large OR spotlights.

‘Capital equipment purchases rely on community support as they are not funded by the government. Providing our surgical team with state-of-the art equipment is vital to the care and services the surgical team delivers,” said Pamela Ellens, WLMH Foundation Executive Director.

“We are so grateful to the Foundation, the Auxiliary and our community for their support of our Operating Room needs,” said Dr. Zettel.

This holiday season, contribute to West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Trees of Healthy Wishes campaign to support our hospital’s needs and the great tradition of patient care in our community. To make a donation by phone or for more information, please call 905.945.WLMH (9564) or visit


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