St Mary’s Imperial College Trust, LONDON UK
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Alex Digesu has been using Galaxy retractors during his surgical procedures since they were first developed. He explains what prompted the change to using Galaxy devices in the first place and describes their many benefits.
Dr Alex Digesu is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. A specialist in urogynaecology, his area of interest lies in oncology and includes complex reconstructive pelvic surgery. He also mentors trainee clinicians and surgeons to improve their technical skills, helping to teach the surgeons of the future.
The need for a superior product
Alex explained: “Most of the surgery I perform is of course vaginal surgery, and the retractors I was using before the Galaxy products were extremely traumatic on the mucosa, especially for older patients with more fragile tissue. The problem with that is that the more damage you cause to the tissue, the greater the inflammatory response and the greater the pain experienced by the patient, so I began searching for an alternative, and came across JUNE Medical and the Galaxy retractor.”
In those early days, Alex first used the Galaxy prototype product, but he soon welcomed the opportunity to give the company feedback on how the design could be improved, leading to the development of the Galaxy II. He continued: “The Galaxy II offers lots of advantages over other brands of retractors on the market. Firstly, there is a variety of stay hooks available to suit different layers of tissue that might need to be pulled back, all of which are designed to minimise trauma. While the various options are less applicable to vaginal surgery, other surgical specialties that operate on regions with more anatomical layers benefit enormously from this.”
“However, what is really unique about the Galaxy retractors is the cam-lock mechanism that replaces the traditional screw-locks and allows simple single-handed adjustment. The design makes it far easier for surgeons to optimise the retractor shape for different procedures, and to modify it for each individual patient; patients are all different sizes so being able to place the retractor accordingly is a great advantage. The locks can also be easily readjusted by the surgeon as many times as necessary throughout the procedure itself, which is especially useful when there are fewer assistants around, such as in private practice settings.”
The retractors are extremely helpful in the teaching environment. Alex added: “Having a retractor is very important during my educational courses. Historically, surgical trainees and students would assist in the operation by standing next to the surgeon and manually retracting the tissue. However, I am now able to use the retractor instead, which means that trainees and students can observe directly from behind me, giving them a better view for learning the anatomical structures and surgical steps.”
Weighing in better for the environment
Alex continued: “It’s not only the design that makes Galaxy the preferred range of retractors; they are cheaper than other models, which means they are an attractive choice for healthcare providers, and they are lightweight and use less plastic than other brands, helping to reduce waste, save costs, and adopt a more environmentally-friendly approach. This was an important consideration that we discussed with JUNE Medical when we were advising on the development of the Galaxy II. Having a supplier who listens to our advice and suggestions to enable us to operate more successfully is a rather unique, but great, asset to have.”
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