From the desk of:

Dr. Richard Reid

You can help fund Island-first equipment to support the work of caregivers like Dr. Reid, a neurosurgeon at Victoria General Hospital. Today, will you help us fund an O-Arm imaging system? This brand new equipment piece is a first for the Island, reducing neurosurgery patient referrals to the Mainland.

Many physicians have a story about what brought them to Vancouver Island. Mine began in 2008 after I completed a neurosurgical fellowship in complex spinal surgery in the United States. After a job opportunity brought me to Victoria, I loved what I saw and decided to stay. Today, my colleagues and I are grateful for a piece of vital equipment that helps us attract the best and brightest talent for our local hospitals.

An O-Arm imaging system is a portable CT (CAT) scanner that is used primarily during and after spinal surgeries. It offers a level of real-time visualization that other imaging can’t provide. The machine creates complex 3D images that allow neurosurgeons to provide safer and more accurate placement of surgical hardware. It also allows for less invasive surgeries, and shorter recovery times.

A patient might need spinal reconstruction surgery after a car accident, or a fall from a ladder—any injury that causes a spinal fracture. Other conditions that require spinal surgery with the help of an O-Arm are tumours that invade the spinal canal or other areas around the spine. There are also degenerative conditions that can cause compressed nerves or spinal cord that require spinal reconstructions.

During a spinal reconstruction surgery, I often have to take the spine apart. Then, I have to rebuild it using screws and rods. The area where I place the screw is almost the same size as the screw itself—I can’t be even a millimetre off. The O-Arm provides the precise, real-time imagining that I need as a surgeon to be completely confident with the work I’ve done.

Through the Emerge Stronger campaign, the community can help fund the $318,000 O-Arm imaging system at Victoria General Hospital (VGH).

Accidents that result in spinal fractures and degenerative conditions can happen to anyone, at any age. At VGH, we use the O-Arm every day on a wide range of patients aged 16 and older. It is the only O-Arm on the Island, and it absolutely sets a standard of care—especially since 40% of the cases we treat are emergencies, and need to be treated quickly. Without the O-Arm, there are patients who would need to travel to Vancouver to have these surgeries.

When I think about what attracts new neurosurgery graduates to our Vancouver Island hospitals, I know they wouldn’t consider accepting a position unless an O-Arm is present in their operating room. It’s a necessity. All physicians want to be able to provide the best care for our patients, and we want them to feel confident they are receiving it.

Dr. Richard Reid, MD
Head of Neurosurgery, Island Health