Sri Lanka Association of Minimal Access and Digital Surgeons (SLAMADS)

The Sri Lanka Association of Minimal Access and Digital Surgeons was formed in August 2020. The main objectives of the association are to support all practicing surgeons in improving their skills in the field of Minimal Access Surgery (MAS), support health authorities to develop MAS in Sri Lanka, promote education and research in the field of MAS.

SLAMADS will empower Sri Lankan surgeons especially those newly appointed to practice MAS safely and with confidence in their respective work stations. We will also be able to support surgical trainees in developing their skills in MAS and provide due recognition for their training.

SLAMADS is unique because it will have members not only from different sub-specialties of surgery but also from other fields like Radiology and Gynaecology.

The Founder President – Prof Bawantha Gamage MS, FMASI, FCCSL, FRCS (Eng) 

Editor – Prof K B Galketiya MS FRCS (Eng)

 E- Newsletter is published by the Association monthly and is circulated to the membership.

The Early Days of Minimal Access Surgery in Sri Lanka : Personal Recollections

Laparoscopic Surgery

Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital

Early Days of Minimal Access Surgery in Sri Lanka

Some personal recollections

Gamini Goonetilleke FRCS Consultant Surgeon

Past President, The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka
  • The year 1992 could be regarded as the watershed in Minimal Access Surgery in Sri Lanka
  • Dr K L Fernando FRCS, regarded as the ‘father’ of laparoscopic surgery in Sri Lanka returned to Sri Lanka from UK, where he had training in this new technique.
  • He brought with him his personal equipment and instruments used for laparoscopic surgery and established a Laparoscopic Surgery Unit at the General Hospital Colombo North, Ragama. He was a senior lecturer in surgery at the North Colombo Medical School (Private) and this was the official teaching hospital for that faculty.
  • Dr K L Fernando performed the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy at this hospital on 10th June 1992.
  • He also performed laparoscopic cholecystectomy at private hospitals namely Nawaloka and Asiri Hospitals using his own equipment under difficult conditions as there were no assistants trained in this field.
  • Dr K L Fernando delivered the first oration on this subject in 1994. That was the Sir A M De Silva Oration organised by The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka. The title of the oration was – Laparoscopy 81 Consecutive Cases in Sri Lanka. His experience was later published in the Sri Lanka Journal of Surgery in 1995 – Ref. Fernando KL. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: 81 Consecutive Cases in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Surgery.1995;4-17
  • In 1992 Laparoscopy was also introduced to Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital, Nugegoda (SJGH) and operations were being done with the assistance of Sri Lankan Expatriate Surgeons domiciled in US on their visits to Sri Lanka. But this was not a regular feature.
  • I joined SJGH in 1993. I had no training in this field at that time. In 1994, The Board of the SJGH decided send me and Dr S A W Gunewardena for training at the Gangaram Hospital in New Delhi, India. Following this training we performed laparoscopic cholecystectomy very cautiously. Naturally there was a high conversion rate.
  • In 1995 the first Laparoscopic Surgery workshop was held in Sri Lanka. This was one of the workshops conducted at the First meeting of The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka with The Royal College of Surgeons of England held in Colombo. The workshop was held in the Consultants Lounge of The General Hospital Colombo using modules supplied by Karl Storz, Germany. The guests from UK were the trainers at this workshop. (Article + photos in a separate folder).
  • From 1998 onwards surgeons from Sri Lanka started attending laparoscopic workshops in India. One of the main centres was the hospital dedicated to Minimal Access Surgery where Dr C Palanivelu MS, MNAHS, Mch (Gastro), FACS one of the pioneers in laparoscopic surgery in India was practicing this art. The Ethicon animal lab in Chennai managed by Johnson & Johnson was another centre where we learnt the techniques of laparoscopic surgery.
  • In 1998, I delivered the Sir A M De Silva oration conducted by The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka. The title of the oration was Symptomatic Gallstone Disease in Sri Lanka and The Early Experience in Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy in Sri Lanka. This was later published in the Sri Lanka Journal of Sri Lanka. Reference – Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy – A Six Year Audit in a General Surgical Unit. The Sri Lanka Journal of Surgery 2000,18, 10-15  Goonetilleke G C, Dissanayake T P, Jayesekera S,  Samarakoon D,  Hathurusinghe H,  Perera S.
  • In 2000 the first Video Endoscopic System (Fujinon) was introduced to Sri Lanka at the Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital, Nugegoda. Following this the first live video endoscopic workshop with two way communication was held at the same hospital with the participation of consultant surgeons and physicians practicing endoscopy in Sri Lanka.
  • In 2001 the first live demonstration of laparoscopic procedures was held in Sri Lanka. This was organised by The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka and was held at the SJGH. The demonstration of procedures was by Dr C Palanivelu which in fact was his first visit to Sri Lanka. ( article and photos in a separate folder)
  • The Harmonic Scalpel was introduced for the first time at SJGH in 2001.
  • The Ethicon Fellowship was started in 2001. Senior and junior registrars (pre and post MS trainees) were selected for this fellowship. They underwent training in laparoscopic surgery by experts in the field at selected hospitals in India. While the senior registrars were trained for 3 months, the junior registrar’s training was restricted to 1 month. These fellowships were sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

The  First laparoscopic Workshop in Sri Lanka – 1995

The first laparoscopy workshop for surgeons in Sri Lanka was conducted during the first Joint meeting of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) with The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka.

It was held on the 8th April 1995 at the Consultants Lounge, General Hospital Colombo. The demonstration of various techniques was carried out by the members of The Royal College of Surgeons of England. A modular system was used for the demonstration. The workshop was sponsored by Karl Storz, Germany.

Photographs of the First Laparoscopic Workshop in Sri Lanka – 1995

The First Live Laparoscopic Surgery Workshop in Sri Lanka – 2001

The first live demonstration of laparoscopic surgery organised by The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka was held at the Sri Jayawardanapura Genaral Hospital, Nugegoda in July 2001. This was the first live demonstration of laparoscopic procedures with video conferencing to be held in Sri Lanka. The procedures were demonstrated by Dr.C.Palanivelu, a well known and world renowned laparoscopic surgeon from India. The following procedures were demonstrated – Cholecystectomy, Inguinal herniotomy, Nissen Fundoplication, Ligation of varicocele, Orchidopexy, appendicectomy and laparoscopic assisted gastro-jejunostomy. There were 50 participants both surgeons and surgical trainees.

Dr Gamini Goonetilleke FRCS

Consultant Surgeon, President, The College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka – 2001

Click here to view Page 2 – Surgical management of benign strictures of the oesophagus

9 thoughts on “PUBLICATIONS

  1. A very good description about the birth of laparoscopic surgery in Srilanka supported with some nice photographs. You are special about your presentations of this nature. May the triple gem bless you for your good work.

  2. Both happy and sad. Happy to note that progress is being made by Sri Lanka albeit so slowly. Sad because of the omission of merit from national leadership wherein it should be the most essential ingredient. The system systematically fails to take to the top people who know to show the way. Notwithstanding all our boasts about high literacy and intelligence, the people we choose to lead us are shamans whose universities are kovils and professors are kapuralas !!

  3. Thanks for sharing the development of the new surgery techniques. It’s amazing what surgeons can do these days. Anything with minimal invasion is a huge plus.

  4. God is still blessing you Gamini for what you had done for those peasants in Polonnaruwa. The Lord is telling you well done my dear brother Gamini, inherit the kingdom of God while living on earth.

  5. Military Surgery
    The photo with Late General Denzil Kobbekaduwa speaks heaps!!. Reminds me of some of my encounters

  6. Dr. Goonetilleke, Thank you for sharing this article. Your dedication and duties during the difficult and dangerous days to serve the injured is remarkable. May God continue to be with you and guide you for making use of the gifts and talents given to you

  7. Military Surgery
    You richly deserve the the accolades for having served your country so loyally, having excelled in the field of surgery

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