Keyhole surgery was performed on Edinburgh Zoo’s Golden Cat, using a pioneering pretzel-shaped instrument, days before Christmas.

A pioneering pretzel-shaped surgical instrument, donated by medical device designer and manufacturer Surgical Innovations, has been used to carry out keyhole surgery on an Asian Golden Cat at Edinburgh Zoo.

Vet Romain Pizzi used ground-breaking, minimal invasive
techniques toPretzelFlex retractor carry out a liver and kidney biopsy and assess whether the cat (”Ipoh”) has possible polycystic disease – all just days before Christmas.

The instrument PretzelFlex – named because of its innovative pretzel shape – has been especially designed to hold liver and tissue during keyhole procedures. It was couriered up to the Zoo just hours before the surgery and was the first time it has been used on an animal anywhere in the world.

The technology allowed Romain to fully explore all the abdominal organs and the operation was a great success. Shortly after surgery, the cat was up, behaving normally, and enjoyed his normal evening meal.

Romain, a veterinary surgeon for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland based at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Over the last few months, Ipoh lost weight, behaved more quietly and has had a dull, poorly groomed coat, which led us to believe he was ill. Ultrasound examination and other testing showed small cysts in some of the organs, but couldn’t explain what they were or how to treat them.
“We needed to make a diagnosis quickly, but with the help of specialist surgical instruments donated by Surgical Innovations this was made possible. I am pleased to say the whole procedure was a great success and we hope to get Ipoh back to full health soon.
“The PretzelFlex retractor is an ingenious instrument that can be passed down a very thin keyhole cannula and then formed into a large, sturdy pretzel-like shap and used just like a hand to hold organs out of the way. It is not only one of the cleverest instruments I have ever seen, it is also one of the most beautiful.”

Graham Bowland, CEO of Surgical Innovations, said: “I am delighted that once again our laparoscopic instruments have helped Romain in his operative techniques on the animals at Edinburgh Zoo. Such operations help promote the Zoo as a pioneering centre for wildlife minimally invasive surgery and firmly establish keyhole surgery as a viable proposition for animals of all sizes.”

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