Andrew van Hasselt to give lecture

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 October, 1993, 12:00am

A SURGEON from the Chinese University of Hong Kong has been invited to give one of medicine's most prestigious lectures in recognition of his revolutionary surgical technique for a tumour-like ear disease.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) chief Professor Andrew van Hasselt, who will next month deliver the Joseph Toynbee Memorial Lecture in Britain, before the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Society of Medicine, is the first doctor from an Asian university to be honoured in this way.

''This is very prestigious,'' said another senior doctor. ''It is like the Nobel Prize of ENT surgery.'' Prof van Hasselt has been asked to talk about the Hong Kong flap, a technique developed by him and his ENT team last year.

The technique, which is expected to benefit about 10 million people worldwide, has won universal praise.

Next month, some of the world's most prominent ear, nose and throat surgeons will take part in a workshop in Hong Kong to learn the technique.

The Hong Kong Flap helps sufferers of cholesteatoma, a disease that causes cells to grow abnormally in the ear, leading to deafness, brain infection and even death.

Although doctors had long been able to remove the tumour-like disease, the surgery left a ''disgustingly dirty'' hole that was like ''a wound that never heals'', Prof van Hasselt said.

Attempts to cover the hole failed, until the technique developed by his team.

It found a delicate piece of tissue close to the ear, the Hong Kong Flap, had its own blood supply.

This made it ideal to cover the hole and keep the blood supply intact which meant the wound could heal and the discharge be stopped.