St George Hospital’s Pioneering Peritonectomy Surgery
Led by Professor David Morris
December 1, 2019

Once performed only several times a year, the St George Peritonectomy unit now performs highly specialised surgery of the peritoneum (abdominal linig) nearly every day of the week.

Introduced to Australia in 1995 by Professor David Morris, this life-saving surgery is now commonplace, addressing the demand for treatment of complex cancer cases. The surgery performed at the St George Peritonectomy unit takes an average of 12 hours and removes a cancer, called peritoneal mesothelioma, from the abdomen.

“It has been a really interesting 20 years in that we have kind of taken something that everybody thought was crazy, and now we cure half of the patients in many of the types of tumours that we treat,” Professor Morris.

St George Hospital is still the leading centre for peritonectomy surgery in the country. Currently, the success rate for the surgery is about 50 per cent. Both Professor Morris and Dr Nayef Alzahrani perform the surgery at the hospital and are supported by a team of medical practitioners including oncologists, anesthetists and nurses.

Professor Morris also works closely with a research team to develop drugs, some of which have already been implemented in patient treatment. The St George Peritonectomy unit have a strong working relationship with Saudi Arabia and often train surgeons from there, in Australia.

Since the 1990s the team has performed thousands of peritonectomy surgeries and continue to develop their medical practices for patients suffering from complex cancer.