In the last days of last year, two Vietnamese surgeons including Dr. Tran Ngoc Luong, deputy head of the National Hospital of Endocrinology and his colleague, were invited to Malaysia, but not to attend a conference or a training course.
Dr. Tran Ngoc Luong conducts a surgery in Malaysia ( Photo: NLD)
They were invited to perform endoscopic surgeries for women suffering from thyroid gland enlargement.
This is evidence that the skills of Vietnamese doctors are being acknowledged outside the nation’s borders, a distinctly new development, as the usual tendency has been for them to travel abroad for receiving training in advanced techniques or learn of new advances in their field of study.
Malaysian surgeons and experts arrived in Vietnam four months ago to study the endoscopic surgical method for thyroid gland enlargement patients utilized by Dr. Tran Ngoc Luong, deputy head of the National Hospital of Endocrinology.
Highly impressed by the surgical skills of their Vietnamese counterparts, they decided to invite Dr. Luong to perform the technique in Malaysia. Dr. Luong accepted the invitation as an opportunity to put Vietnam’s medical skills on the international map.
At first, he was a bit anxious, as he was asked to perform surgeries on six successive days in Malaysia. However, they went without a hitch and his Malaysian counterparts were surprised at the simple technique that he used with some adjustments. A leading Malaysian leading expert in endoscopic surgery had high praise for Dr. Luong’s skills.
For years, Malaysian experts had learned the technique for treating thyroid gland enlargement from partners in Japan and Thailand, but they did not have much success. Through some international medical seminars, they discovered Dr. Luong’s technique.
The Malaysian expert admitted to initial skepticism about the Vietnamese doctor’s skills, because the country is not known to have a well developed medical sector. After witnessing Dr. Luong’s performance, he was not only convinced, but full of admiration because the Vietnamese surgeon was able to do it in an operation theatre without the latest technology.
Dr. Luong says he was saddened by the sight of young women having to bear long, ugly scars on their necks after the operation, said this made him determined to find some way to avoid it.
In 2003, he started to research medical documents and found out the strengths of various endoscopic surgery techniques. He then invented a unique technique that is now named after him.
To achieve the perfection that he has today, he says he spent six years with many sleepless nights to find out a way to get to the thyroid gland. At first, he tried to put tools through the cervical tube to the thyroid gland, but this still left patients with small scars on their necks.
He completed 100 operations at the gland through breasts but was not still satisfied because after the operation although successful young woman had been left with some nasty looking keloid scars on breasts on the back of her neck.
Later, Dr. Luong decided to operate through their armpits. The method proved ideal as it was easier to control post surgical complications and left no scars. Gradually, over 1,500 surgeries, he honed the technique.
Dr. Luong continues still conducts surgeries at his hospital in a small operation room without the most modern facilities, changing the lives of young women. His international exposure and fame, though, is not only a singular individual achievement, it is also one that gives Vietnamese healthcare a higher profile.