New day surgeries will be performed at Innisfail Health Centre starting this month.
They include carpal tunnel surgery, breast reductions/augmentations, tendon repairs, palmar fasciectomy, abdominoplasty and retinal surgery.
“The expansion of surgical capacity in Innisfail is great news for Central Alberta residents. Making better use of the capacity in a facility like this, and serving people nearer to where they live, are exactly the kinds of changes we want to see based on the input we’ve had so far to the Rural Health Review,” said Health Minister Stephen Mandel in a press release.
About 450 required and elective procedures will be completed annually through Innisfail’s plastic surgery program, which includes carpal tunnel surgery, breast reductions/augmentations and tendon repairs. The program will run seven days a month, serving patients from across Alberta Health Services’ Central Zone.
In the Central Zone, plastic surgery procedures are also completed at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
The new surgery to repair detached or damaged retinas will complement the existing retina clinic and ophthalmology program in Innisfail that was launched in 2013 with cataract surgery. New eye surgeries will be offered one day per month, starting on Thursday.
Suzanne Telford, site manager at Innisfail Health Centre, said increasing surgical capacity helps decrease wait times for patients.
“Our ophthalmology program serves a wide variety of eye health conditions, such as glaucoma, vision loss, retinal issues and cataracts. We do a large number of cataract surgeries here and we are continuing to see more as we are now able to do more complex procedures that require general anesthetic,” Telford said.
Once fully implemented, nearly 100 retinal surgeries could be performed every year at the Innisfail Health Centre.
More staff and new equipment have been added to support the expansion of surgical services.
New equipment includes an operating table, an anesthetic machine, a cautery machine, additional surgical instruments and a nerve stimulator.
A lot of the equipment was made possible by donations through the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation and annual fundraising initiatives, such as the Cattle Round Up and staff 50/50 lotto.