Vietnam hospital marks 400th surgery of choledochal cyst

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The Central Children's Hospital in Hanoi successfully conducted its 400th "keyhole" surgery on a choledochal cyst on July 4 making it one of the world's leading centers for treating the problem.

The surgery was led by Dr Nguyen Thanh Liem, the hospital's director.

A team of Australian experts sat in on the procedure as observers.

The patient was Luong Quang Huy, a three-year-old boy from the northern province of Lang Son.

The boy began suffering from fever and abdominal pains six months ago, but doctors in Lang Son Province could not diagnose the problem.

After he was transferred to the Central Children's Hospital, tests showed he had choledochal cyst and the three-hour surgery has saved his life. 

Choledochal cyst is a congenital condition that causes abnormal enlargement of the bile duct. The condition proves fatal when not treated, immediately.

The Central Children's Hospital conducted the first laparoscopic surgery (a minimally invasive technique) on such a cyst in 2007, replacing the riskier use of open surgery.

Between January 2007 and June 2011, only one of 399 patients who underwent such procedures had to submit themselves to a second surgery.

The youngest patient was only two months old and none of the 399 cases were fatal, Dr Liem said.

Dr Liem and his co-workers have been invited to give a presentation on the laparoscopic method at international medical conferences in Australia, France, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and the Czech Republic.

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