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Published on November 23rd, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie


Charlie Teo: The Neurosurgeon Who Saves Lives


In the entire Universe,  it is the most precious gift of all. A gift that is often taken for granted but throughout all of our lives we will be reminded just how special life truly is.

His methods have caused numerous controversies amongst his peers. Some in the medical profession despise him. Yet, this remarkable man gets results no else does. For some surgeons there are inoperable tumours, not for Charlie Teo.

Addressing his critics during the Australian television programme, Sixty Minutes Teo stated:

‘I think it is a combination of having to admit that they may have been wrong with their initial criticism of the techniques, and probably some professional jealousies. It boils down to basic human failure of fear of the unknown. If they came to watch some of the surgery, they would see that it’s not anything too difficult then they may be converted to use some of the techniques.’

Non-Invasive Surgery

Teo is a whole-hearted practitioner of non-invasive surgical techniques such as keyhole surgery. He maintains that these techniques are relatively easy for surgeons to learn.

Keyhole or laparoscopic surgery has many benefits. The advantages of these types of precedures are manifold. They reduce blood loss, have a smaller incision poin which keeps pain to a minimum and also reduces recovery time. Keyhole surgery also has the added benefits of faster discharge times which means hospital resources are better managed. There is also less risk of the patient becoming infected.

‘Most skilled and experienced neurosurgeons could learn keyhole techniques with simply a course, a hands on practical course, followed by two or three weeks of observation. I know this is hard to understand, but it’s not so much the techniques, it’s more about mindset, it’s about a mind shift in the way that one approaches brain tumours.’

Maintaining A High Success Rate

Charlie Teo’s surgical success rate is very high above 90 per cent mark. Using the latest technology and the best medically trained team allows such high success rates.

In terms of successful surgery, the rate is very high, higher than 90 per cent. If you quantify success by survival and cure, it is very low, because 70 per cent of all brain tumours that we see are malignant and it doesn’t matter how good your technique, these patients will succumb to the disease.

The question on whether to operate ceases to be a question and more an equation. If the cost-to-benefit ratio is higher to the patient then surgery is probably not a good idea. This is the method Teo uses. Nonetheless, for the vast majority of patients the benefit of surgery outweighs the risks.

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