UAE: Doctors remove 4cm tumour after 12-hour surgery to save nanny's vision

The 41-year-old nanny based in Abu Dhabi said it was the 'best-ever New Year gift'


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 2:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 3:04 PM

A team of doctors in Abu Dhabi's Burjeel Medical City has saved a Filipina expat's vision by removing a 4cm tumour using advanced technology in a marathon surgery lasting 12 hours.

The 41-year-old nanny based in the Capital said it was the "best-ever New Year gift" as she has started to regain her sight.

"For a long time, I had a vision problem in my left eye. I went to Burjeel Medical City where after diagnosis and X-ray tests, the doctors detected a gelatinous and growing tumour affecting my vision," she said.

In a first-of-a-kind surgery, advanced intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology was used that gives surgeons a real-time scan of the patient and enables them to remove the tumours with clinical precision.

In this case, the tumour was pressing on the optic nerve causing vision problems and weakening the eye muscles. It hindered the normal movement of the iris, resulting in exophthalmos, i.e., bulging and protruding of eyeballs.


The tumour's location made it complicated and challenging surgery, said Dr Salim V Kanaan, a consultant neurosurgeon at Burjeel Medical City, who performed the complex surgery, which lasted 12 hours.

"The procedure was successful. We removed the entire tumour without damaging any blood vessels or the optic nerve. Any error while doing the surgery would have caused blindness or damaged the patient's optic nerve," he said.

The use of magnetic resonance technology helped the medical team locate the position of the tumour and its spread accurately before and during the progress of the surgery.

Dr Kanaan pointed out that intraoperative MRI technology gives an edge to surgeons in removing tumours.

"The removal of these tumours is challenging as it is difficult to accurately determine their size and location. The technology enables real-time scan images on the screen in the operating room. So, there is no chance of committing a clinical error. It spares the patient from undergoing a second surgery or exposure to chemotherapy or radiation if there is no need for it."

The operating room with an MRI technology has to be set up with certain specifications, aligning with the characteristics of the magnetic field. The equipment, including the breathing apparatus, surgical operating beds, and screens, are metal-free. Even the operating table is plastic with a surgical bed installed on it.

Dr Sadir Al-Rawi, consultant surgical oncologist and CEO, Burjeel Medical City, added, "As a responsible healthcare provider, we believe it is our responsibility to adapt to the latest developments in healthcare. We are proud to be one of the few institutions in the region possessing intraoperative MRI technology. We will continue to lead and take the UAE's healthcare sector to greater heights."

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