Serving Bendigo

Serving Bendigo PROGRESSIVE: John Rophael has an appointment with St John of God Bendigo Hospital. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

EXCITED: John Rophael.

APPOINTMENT: John Rophael will do work at St John of God Hospital Bendigo.

TweetFacebookTHE Bendigo Advertiser is continuing topublisha series of profiles on healthcare specialists working in Bendigo.

The Central Victorian Medical Recruitment Taskforce worked diligently to create a sustainable medical workforce in central Victoria and the Bendigo Advertiser is helping to spread the word about the expertise available in Bendigo.

JOHN Rophael is a city boy with a passion for the country.

The vascular and endovascular surgeon studied at Melbourne University beforetraining as a junior doctorat St Vincent’s Hospital and rotating through a range of surgical specialties.

Mr Rophael decided to specialise in vascular surgery – medical treatment of diseases of the vascular system or arteries and veins – and split his training between Victoria and New South Wales.

“I trained at The Austin and The Alfred here in Victoria and at the Royal North Shore in Liverpool in Sydney,” he said.

“After I finished my training I decided to work regionally so I set up my practice in Wagga and also in Albury.

“I had quite a big practice there.

“I was essentially the sole surgeon coveringabout 400,000 people in the catchments and surrounding areas.

“It was good for a specialist who’d just finished to go and get that degree of exposure and also offer a regional service.”

Mr Rophael set up Albury’s first endovascular service and was also instrumental in establishing the first regional complex wound and ulcer multidisciplinary service.He also set up the region’s first endovenous laser treatment service.

“In Melbourne vascular surgery is very much city centric whereas in New South Wales I think they’ve tried the model of having vascularsurgeonsin regional areas like Lismore and Byron Bay,” Mr Rophael said.

“They proved it is possible, as long as you have a hospital that has the appropriate facilities.

“Wagga had already had some vascular surgery done there but the vascular surgeon who was there had left for a few years to go and set up in Tasmania.

“But in Albury there was very minimal vascular surgery, in fact no endovascular surgery was being done.So Iset that up and we treated quite a number of patients.”

Mr Rophael provides a range of vasculardiagnosticand interventional services including the management ofperipheral arterial disease; venous disease; complex ulcers and wounds; cerebrovascular disease; aortic and peripheral aneurysms; andspinal access surgery.

“Traditionally vascular surgery was done as open surgery,” Mr Rophael said.

“Now about 60 per cent of vascular surgery workload is endovascular which is minimally invasive, done through the vessel rather than exposing thevessels.So if you have a blocked artery, traditionally you’d open the artery and clear it out with open surgery.Now you put a little wire and you balloon it.

“Our patient population is often patients who are in their 70s and 80s and so on for whom a minimally invasive approach is always better because it carries a lesser risk ofanestheticcomplications, wound infection andthat sort of thing.”

Mr Rophael is based in Melbourne but has an appointment at St John of God Bendigo Hospital.

“I like workingregionally,” he said.

“The message I would like to convey is it is possible to do complex surgery for vascular surgery in a regional centre and I’m offering that here in Bendigo.”

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