Dr Sam Kirkwood has beaten tough competition to win a prestigious national gynaecology award.
Sam, who is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Advanced Minimal Access Gynaecology at Royal Surrey, gave a presentation at the British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) Annual Scientific Meeting in Manchester, which won her the Karl Storz Golden Telescope Award.
Shortlisted to the final six from around 50 applicants, Sam took home the stunning gold plated laparoscope trophy for her presentation; “Green is Good: The use of Indocyanine Green (ICG) in laparoscopy to evaluate tissue perfusion in adenexal torsion.”
This was a research project Sam undertook as part of her Fellowship, working alongside Andrew Kent, Consultant Gynaecologist and Minimal Access Surgeon, at Royal Surrey.
To put her work in context, the gynaecology team often see female patients who present with Ovarian Torsion, where an ovary and sometimes the fallopian tube, become twisted. This can cut off the blood supply, leaving the patient in need of emergency surgery.
Historically it has been difficult for medical teams to determine whether a patient’s ovaries can be saved during this procedure, because it is hard to visualise the blood supply returning to the ovarian tissues.
Sam has been researching, alongside Mr Kent, whether the use of ICG dye, which has been used in many fields since 1960, when lit up, could help surgeons decide in real time, whether saving someone’s ovaries is viable.
Using specialist equipment enabled with infra-red technology, Sam and the team filmed the use of ICG dye to light up a patient’s blood vessels before and after their ovaries have been ‘untwisted.’ This showed within minutes, how quickly and extensively the blood supply returns to the ovarian tissue after surgery, something that would previously be unknown without the delay of waiting up to six weeks for a scan.
Sam’s research is in its infancy but at this year’s BSGE Meeting, there was a great deal of optimism about furthering the use of ICG in gynaecology, particularly for its application in endometrial surgery which is the focus of Mr Kent’s work.
Reflecting on the team’s achievement, Sam said: “It means a huge amount to win this award because I have really enjoyed doing my fellowship with Andrew Kent. It has been the highlight of my career to date, because he is such a fantastic mentor, teacher and a highly skilled surgeon.
“I am so delighted that the team’s ground-breaking work in this area has been officially recognised.”
Pictured above: BSGE President Andrew Kent (left), Dr Sam Kirkwood (centre), John Flanagan, UK Business Manager, Karl Storz (right).