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State of the art procedure is the first within DoD

Retired Capt. Eugene Chalaire was the first to undergo an intricate cancer-preventive procedure performed at Womack Army Medical Center this summer. Womack is the first within the DoD to offer this service. (U.S. Army photo) Retired Capt. Eugene Chalaire was the first to undergo an intricate cancer-preventive procedure performed at Womack Army Medical Center this summer. Womack is the first within the DoD to offer this service. (U.S. Army photo)

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WOMACK ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, N.C. — Physicians here performed the first endoscopic submucosal resection of a colonic polyp within the Department of Defense military medicine this past summer.

Only a handful of medical centers in the United States perform this procedure due to the high level of expertise needed.

Since the publishing of The National Defense Authorization Act 2017, WAMC is fervently seeking unprecedented ways to provide greater access to quality care to their community.

Endoscopic submucosal resection is an advanced procedure using an endoscope to remove deep tumors from the gastrointestinal tract that would otherwise require surgery.

The procedure involves injecting a hyaluronic acid-based solution underneath the tumor to lift it and then remove with an endoscope.

Eugene Chalaire, a Vietnam veteran had been battling some health issues requiring him to undergo three procedures without success.

“I had a colonoscopy at my local VA hospital and they found a large flat polyp in my circum,” said Chalaire.

After his multiple attempts at the VA, he was referred to Womack to try a different approach.

The WAMC team was able to offer this specialize procedure through a collaborative effort between the surgical service and the gastrointestinal service.

Army Col. Viet-Nhan Nguyen, the deputy commander of medical services at Womack and Army Lt. Col. Shaun Brown, the chief of rectal surgery teamed up to resolve Chalaire’s health concern with an innovative approach within the military healthcare system.

“Traditionally, patients with colon polyps too big to be excised endoscopically would have to plan for a major surgery to remove part of their colon,” said Nguyen.

Womack is the only military medical treatment facility with the equipment to perform this procedure across the DoD.

“Through a collaboration between the VA system and the military health system, our staff hope to bring these types of new innovations to more beneficiaries within the military community,” said Nguyen.

Chalaire, who has is a long-time Raeford, N.C., resident, expressed his appreciation for military medicine.

“I feel privileged and honored to be a part of this milestone for military medicine,” said Chalaire.

Their ongoing mission within the military treatment facilities is to ensure all active and reserve medical personnel in uniform are trained and ready to provide medical care in support of operational forces around the world.

Technical expertise and confident leadership allowed the Womack staff to be the first to ever do it; keeping strides with the overall mission.

“Having a great relationship with our VAs allows us to have synergy amongst our staff; which provides greater access to patient care,” said Brown.

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