International Conference on Oral-Facial Rehabilitation

A three-day International Conference on Maxillofacial Prosthetics was held at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi during March 23-25, 2017 to explore options and methodologies to rehabilitate patients with major oral and facial deformities. Prominent head and neck surgeons, maxillofacial rehabilitation specialists, international faculties and scientists deliberated on a wide spectrum of topics relating to restoring oral functions and reconstructing the facial structure in patients with oro-facial defects.

Swami Purnamritananda Puri, General Secretary, Mata Amritanandamayi Math inaugurated the conference. Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Hospital presided over the gathering. Dr. Subramania Iyer, Head, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; Dr. Balagopal Varma, Principal, Amrita School of Dentistry and Dr. Manju V, Professor, Dept. of Prosthodontics, Amrita School of Dentistry spoke during the inaugural session.

Dr. Subramania Iyer explained the importance of the field of Maxillofacial Prosthetics stating that oro-facial defects can occur mainly due to cancer, trauma, infection or congenital defects. Cancer affecting the head and neck are highly debilitating, in terms of physical as well as mental status of the patient. Experts in the field strive for betterment of these patients carrying out advanced surgery followed by prosthetic means, he said.

The highlight of the conference is an outreach programme and workshop held by the Foundation for Oral and Facial Rehabilitation (FFOFR) headed by Dr. John Beumer, the pioneer in maxillofacial prosthetics accompanied by his proficient team, Dr Manju V, Organising Secretary said. The programme had speakers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and San Francisco (UCSF) who provided comprehensive lectures and discussions on surgical management and prosthetic rehabilitation.

The conference on its first day held crucial scientific sessions on restoration of facial defects, ocular defects, auricular defects, orbital defects, nasal defects, large midfacial defects, use of dental implants to retain facial prostheses, restoration of tongue-mandible defects, use of implants in the restoration of tongue-mandible defects, palatal speech aids and laboratory sessions. Scientific deliberations on restoration of hard palate defects and soft palate defects were held on the second day.

Special sessions were held presenting latest research, innovative techniques, use of most advanced equipments, software and technologies in oral and maxillofacial surgeries. Prominent international faculty who addressed the conference were Teoh Khim Hean, National Dental Centre, Singapore; and UCLA and UCSF members, Ting Ling Chang, Evelyn Chung, Arun Sharma, Jay Jayanetti, Dave Parks, Kumar Shah, Don Pedroche and Tomomi Baba. Around 500 delegates participated in the exclusive hands on sessions pertaining to ocular and facial defects.

World Glaucoma Week Observed at Amrita Hosptial

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness across the world. The best way to prevent Glaucoma is through early detection that can be done through yearly eye check ups. Since there are no symptoms or warning signs for this condition it is difficult to detect it. For this reason, World Glaucoma Week is celebrated from 12th to 18th March to raise awareness regarding this condition to help avoid blindness.

As part of the weeklong celebrations, a Glaucoma Walkathon was organized at Durbar Hall on 12th March, Sunday. This event was jointly organized by Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Cochin Ophthalmic Club, KSOS under the egis of Glaucoma Society of India and KSOS, with enthusiastic support from IMA (Cochin branch), Inner Wheel Club of Cochin, Rotary Club of Cochin and Women Explorers (WE) along with the Ophthalmic community of Cochin. The Chief Guest was District Collector, Mr. Mohammed Y. Safirulla and the event was flagged off by Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar.

Another initiative taken by the Department of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Services under the leadership of Dr. Meenakshi Dhar was the Glaucoma awareness campaign through-out the week from 8:30 am to 10: 30 am at the hospital. Additionally, free glaucoma screening services were offered to patients between 2 to 3 pm through the week. Students enthusiastically participated in the poster making competition and the theme this year was “Beat Invisible Glaucoma.”

Kerala CM inaugurates state’s first Centre For High-precision Radiation Therapy at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the state’s first Centre for High-Precision Radiation Therapy for cancer patients at the 1,300-bed Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Amrita Hospital) on March 11, 2017. The facility, equipped with the latest, high-output models of CyberKnife (M6 version) and Tomotherapy, will offer quick and painless treatment of cancerous tumors with very high precision of radiation delivery. This development comes as a huge relief to cancer patients from Kerala who till now had to travel to other parts of India or even abroad at a great cost for high-end cancer treatment, as this capability did not exist in the state.

Addressing the audience, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences is among the best hospitals in India. Its new Centre for High-Precision Radiation Therapy will be of tremendous benefit to the people. The Government recognizes the need for quality healthcare, and appreciates the important role that non-Government hospitals are playing in the state. This is for the first time that such a facility for non-invasive treatment of cancer is established in Kerala, even though it has been available in other parts of the country for many years. It is a much-needed addition to Kerala’s healthcare system, more so because the incidence of cancer in the state has been going up steadily.”

Dr. Debnarayan Dutta, Head, Radiation Oncology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, who is among the first CyberKnife specialists in India said, “This is Kerala’s first centre for high-precision radiotherapy equipped with state-of-the-art CyberKnife and Tomotherapy systems for highly effective and efficient radiation delivery. These two technologies represent a paradigm shift in cancer care. They offer out-patient, short duration treatment with minimal side effects. At Amrita Hospital, we are offering these world-class radiosurgery facilities with fully robotic radiation delivery system at almost one-fourth the prevailing treatment cost, with no waiting time for patients.”

CyberKnife is used for treating small-size cancerous tumours like brain tumours, moving targets (tumours which move during treatment) such as lung, liver and prostate cancer, and metastatic diseases. The treatment, which is completely painless with minimal toxicity, lasts only a few minutes, and patients can go home immediately. CyberKnife is the only radiation therapy system in the world to track tumour movement in real time, allowing sub-millimeter accuracy in treatment delivery. Tomotherapy delivers radiation doses very precisely to irregular tumours and larger-size tumours. These modern radiosurgery systems deliver precise dose of radiation to cancerous cells while sparing healthy tissue, unlike traditional radiation treatment.

Such advanced care for patients was urgently needed in Kerala because of the rising incidence of cancer, currently hovering around the figure of 160 in males and 153 in females per 100,000 population annually. Dr. Debnarayan Dutta added “The incidence of cancer found in Kerala is similar to Western countries, unlike other parts of India. For example, while cervical cancer is the most common cancer found in Indian women, in Kerala breast cancer is the most common. The incidence of prostate cancer, liver cancer, and colon cancer is also higher in the state, while the incidence of head and neck cancer is less. This unique type of cancer incidence in Kerala poses a challenge in treatment and needs high-end facilities like CyberKnife and Tomotherapy.”

At Amrita Hospital, this high-precision radiation therapy treatment is being made available at almost one-fourth the prevailing cost, bringing it within the reach of the common man. Patients not only from Kerala, but also from India, the Middle East, as well as the SAARC and Central African countries are expected to avail of these facilities, thus reversing the flow of patients looking for high-end treatment with CyberKnife and Tomotherapy

Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister, Kerala; Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, Medical Superintendent, Amrita Hospital; Dr. Prathapan Nair, Principal, School of Medicine, Kochi; Swami Purnamritananda Puri, General Secretary, Mata Amritanandamayi Math; Shri. P. Rajeev, Ex-member of Parliament, Ernakulam; Dr. Debnarayan Dutta, Head, Radiation Oncology, Amrita Hospital; Smt. Soumini Jain, Mayor of Kochi; Prof. K. V. Thomas, Member of Parliament, Ernakulam; Sri. Hibi Eden, MLA, Ernakulam; Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Hospital; Smt. Ambika Sudarsan, Member, Kochi Municipal Corporation; and Dr. K. Pavithran, Head, Medical Oncology were present at the event.

Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh named one of the “100 Most Impactful Healthcare Leaders around the Globe” by CMO Asia

Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. Kochi was named one of the “100 Most Impactful Healthcare Leaders around the Globe” by CMO Asia at the two-day World Health & Wellness Congress Awards held in Mumbai, recently.

On receiving this award Dr. Sanjeev Singh said, “The impactful leadership award was given to bring in innovative management skills in a country like the Health Technology Assessment (HTA), building a national database and bench marking and outcome-based monitoring of patient care.” He added, “The award was given to drive accreditation and quality initiatives in the country from primary care to tertiary care institutions."

Three day Seminar on Head and Neck Oncology held at Amrita Hospital

A three-day seminar on Head and Neck Oncology was held at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi during February 17 - 19, 2017. Dr. Prathapan Nair, Principal, Amrita School of Medicine inaugurated the seminar. The objective of the seminar was to impart state-of-art knowledge in the area of head and neck management and new trends in the treatment as well as areas of concern.

More than 100 trainees from across the country participated in the program. The program was organised under the leadership of Dr. Sundeep Vijayaraghavan and Dr. Krishnakumar T. Dr. Deepak Nair, Tata Memorial College, Mumbai; Dr. Subramania Iyer, Professor and Head, Head and Neck, Plastic Surgery, Amrita Hospital and Dr. Krishnakumar T., Amrita Hospital spoke on the occasion.