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Launch of cystoscopy procedures at Yarmouth Regional Hospital improves access and reduces travel for patients

Yarmouth Regional Hospital Cystoscopy team members in procedure room

The expansion of Yarmouth Regional Hospital’s Urology Program to include a cystoscopy service means up to 100 patients a month can now receive these important services closer to home.

Cystoscopy is a procedure to examine or repair tissues inside the bladder using a special camera called a cystoscope. This scope helps in investigating and managing urological issues like kidney stones, bladder cancer, enlarged prostates, and urinary tract issues.

While a small number of cystoscopies were completed in Yarmouth in the past, the new cystoscopy service formally launched in September of 2022 as part of overall efforts to improve access to surgical care and other procedures.

The local service saves patients from having to travel to Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville for the 10-minute procedure and allows for local follow-up care as well. It builds on the services accessible through the hospital’s Urology Program, which launched in 2018 with support from visiting urologists, the Clare Branch Legion and Women’s Auxiliary and Yarmouth Hospital Foundation.

The foundation and its donors also stepped up again in 2022 to purchase the equipment needed to sterilize cystoscopy equipment, allowing more procedures to be completed and more timely support for patients.

“The addition of cystoscopy services at Yarmouth Regional Hospital is critical in providing timely investigation and management of patients with bladder cancer and other bladder conditions,” says Dr. Trevor Butler, who is one five urologists travelling to Yarmouth for Valley Regional Hospital each month.

Each surgeon completes up to 20 cystoscopes during their visits along with five to six surgeries. Many cystoscopy patients are in their 80’s and above, and the program has improved access and decreased the need for travel.

“Before the expansion, patients would travel from Yarmouth to Kentville which can be quite difficult, but they are very appreciative we are able to travel there and make it work for them,” said urologist Dr. Jeff Himmelman. “This program has decreased wait times for cystoscopy and surgical patients, as well. The wait time for cystoscopy used to be significant, but that has completely changed since we expanded our capacity.”

Nearly 400 patients benefitted from the local service in 2022-2023 and the team is on track to deliver these procedures to up to 800 patients by the end of the fiscal year. 

Photo, left to right: Holly Fisher-Goreham, Gina Leaman, Dr. Jeff Himmelman, Stephanie Scott and Melinda Muise

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