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'First-in-Canada' laser treating patients in Thunder Bay

The only one of its kind in Canada is in Thunder Bay. It's specialized laser machine that is used to target large kidney stones and treat enlarged prostates.

THUNDER BAY — The forward-thinking and proactive work of a doctor and his team is putting Thunder Bay on the international map when it comes to treating enlarged prostates and kidney stones. 

Dr. Hazem Elmansy, a urologist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, is the first doctor in Canada to use the cutting-edge technology, MOSES 2.0, that treats patients with enlarged prostates and those with very large kidney stones.

At the beginning of June, Elmansy was the first doctor "to perform holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) using MOSES 2.0," according to a release from the hospital. This type of laser technology is at the forefront of urological laser technology.

"[Patients have] felt it's life-changing; they'll be able to go home the same day with no catheter," said Elmansy, adding that by using this specific machine, there is no re-treatment for those with enlarged prostates compared to using the first version of the device. 

While those are the main uses for the Moses 2.0, it can also be used for "small stones, small prostates, scars in the urethra scars and the ureter bladder tumours as well, which is a new era," says Elmansy. 

He also noted that the machine's technology allows him to get the work done faster, meaning patients spend less time with anaesthesia, and patients taking blood thinners won't have to go off their medication to get the procedure done. There is also faster recovery time associated with using the Moses 2.0.

Registered nurse Jill Skogberg has been working with Elmansy for the past six years, but she's been in operating rooms for almost 20. She notes that it's a whole new ball game with this laser. 

"With the new technology and our new surgeons, we're at the forefront. We're leading the way," she said.

"All these things have cascading effects, [patients] not having to go on and off medications again and again and again and less anaesthetics." 

With all of the benefits to patients, the hospital also sees improved patient care, lower surgery-per-patient costs and shorter wait times for those seeking treatment.  

Patients are travelling from all across the province and Canada to use the latest version of the laser. 

Elmansy plans to attend three conferences in the coming months to talk about his special techniques in using Moses 2.0, including at a conference in Israel where he will be discussing his work in Thunder Bay. 

It was the doctor's forward thinking that brought the upgraded tech to the city. While following the developments of the machine and its software, Elmansy had the opportunity to speak to the hospital's foundation team about upgrading. He even asked the hospital to install the specialty wall outlet two years before the machine even came to the centre. 

The hospital was able to acquire the machine through fundraising efforts of the hospital's foundation. This machine cost about $275,000. 

"I would like to thank every donor. Their generous contribution allows us to incorporate cutting-edge technology to our urology practice and improve patient care in northwestern Ontario," said Elmansy.


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Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Originally from central Ontario, Katie moved here to further her career in the media industry.
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