Dr. Ambikai Balan Sothinathan is the Resident Consultant Urologist at Pantai Hospital in Kuala, Lumpur. He completed his medical degree and training at the MAHE University (Manipal) in India. Shortly after, he received his Masters of Surgery degree at the Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and finished his sub-specialization in the field of urology. In 2008, he won the prestigious Pfizer Book Award given by the Malaysian Urological Society for his breakthrough research on benign prostate disease. He then pursued a higher sub-specialty training in Uro-Oncology as a Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia.
His vast training in the field of urology allowed him to spearhead the establishment of a dedicated Urological Department at AlorSetar Hospital in Kedah, providing tertiary care services to patients in the northern states of Peninsula, including Kedah, Perlis and Langkawi. His continued efforts in this endeavor have allowed the department to be widely recognized as a premier training center for junior urologists and students taking Masters in Surgery.
With his over 15 years in the health sector, he is not only a renowned expert, but also an approachable and compassionate urologist committed to delivering quality care to his patients. Dr. Balan has made a name in the field of management of prevalent urological diseases in the region, specializing in stone diseases, prostatic and genital function disorders, urinary incontinence, and urological malignancy. He was the first urologist in this side of the world to provide the advanced procedure called Holmium Laser Enucleating of the Prostate (HoLEP) for the surgical treatment of benign prostate disease at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. He continues to be the leading expert in the field and an inspiration to many aspiring urologists.
Endoscopic Stone Procedures: ESWL
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, known for short as lithotripsy or simply ESWL, is a procedure that utilizes shock waves to shatter the stones that are dislodged in the kidney, ureter or bladder. During the procedure, high-energy shockwaves are used to target the kidney stones to break them down into tiny pieces. This is a non-invasive procedure where after the shock wave application, the broken-up pieces of stones are naturally released by the body through the urine. Depending on the patient’s condition, general anesthesia or sedation may be required. Medical travelers who wish to take advantage of this procedure are assured of not just the highest standards of medical care but also affordable rates that are up to 75% cheaper when compared to western countries.
Endoscopic Stone Procedures: Laser
Laser stone surgery is a minimally invasive means of removing stones in the ureters of the kidneys. Also known as ureteroscopy, this procedure requires the insertion of a very thin (less than 2mm in diameter), rigid and long telescope through the upper urinary tract via the bladder. The instrument allows the surgeon to visualize the stones, as well as introduce micro-baskets and laser fibers to manipulate and break them down into smaller fragments. The tiny stones are then excreted from the body through urination. Although there are no incisions involved, this procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and lasts about an hour. After the surgery, a temporary urinary stent may be left in place for a short period to ensure proper drainage of the kidneys. Dr. Balan’s Urology Clinic uses only advanced technologies when performing this procedure to ensure that medical travelers receive the highest standards of medical care.
Endoscopic Stone Procedures: PCNL
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy, also known as percutaneous endoscopic surgery or PCNL for short, is a surgical method for the removal of kidney stones. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision at the back, and a hollow tube is inserted into the kidney, through which the stone will be removed. Depending on the size, the stone may initially be broken into fragments before removal (a procedure called nephrolithotripsy). Patients are usually given general anesthesia or regional or spinal anesthesia during the procedure. After the operation, a small tube or catheter may temporarily be inserted into the kidney for proper removal of urine until the kidney is completely healed. As this is performed at Dr.Balan’s Urology Clinic using only state-of-the-art equipment and most advanced technologies, medical travelers are assured that they’ll receive the same high-quality procedure offered in western countries.
Urogenital Cancer Surgeries: Bladder
Surgery is the primary method used to treat bladder cancer. In early stages of bladder cancer, surgery is performed through transurethral resection (TUR) wherein a thin, long, lighted tube (cystoscope) is inserted into the urethra and is used to destroy and remove the cancerous tumors. In advanced stages, cystectomy or the removal of the bladder, is usually performed. Depending on the spread or stage of the cancer, nearby lymph nodes, organs (such as the prostate), and a part of the urethra may also be removed. Cystectomy requires general anesthesia during the procedure. After bladder removal, urinary diversion or bladder reconstruction surgery is usually performed in order for the body to continue to store urine even in the absence of the bladder. Transurethral resection, which is one of the specialties of Dr. Balan’s Urology Clinic, can be taken advantage of by local patients and medical travelers.
Urogenital Cancer Surgeries: Prostate
Surgical removal of the prostate is a common treatment for prostate cancer. With radical prostatectomy, a surgical operation is performed to remove the whole prostate, through an incision made in the abdomen, or in between the testicles and the perineum. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. After the prostate is removed, a catheter is temporarily placed for a week or two to help drain the bladder. As an alternative to open surgery, prostatectomy can be performed through a robotic-assisted laparoscopic method in which several small incisions are made in the abdomen and robotic arms are used to delicately and precisely perform the surgery. Prostatectomy, which is offered at Dr. Balan’s Urology Clinic, is performed while strictly adhering to internationally accepted standards of medical care. Thus, medical travelers are assured of their safety.
Urogenital Cancer Surgeries: Renal
Renal surgery can effectively remove cancerous tumors located in the kidney (early kidney cancer) and those that have spread to nearby tissues, such as in the case of locally advanced kidney cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, only a part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy), the whole kidney (simple nephrectomy) or including the surrounding adrenal gland and lymph nodes (radical nephrectomy) may be removed. Removal of cancer in the kidneys may be made through a keyhole (laparoscopic) method, wherein instead of a major incision, a number of small cuts is made through which a laparoscope (a small instrument with a camera attached) is inserted to guide surgeons in the removal of the cancer cells and/or the kidney. Medical travelers who require high quality renal surgery but don’t want to spend a fortune, may consult Dr. Balan, who specializes in urogenital surgeries.
Urogenital Cancer Surgeries: Robotics
Robotic cystectomy is the latest minimally invasive surgical treatment of bladder cancer. Considered as a better option to open surgeries that typically lead to significant blood loss and nerve damage, this procedure uses the da Vinci Surgical System, which precisely imitates the surgeon’s movement, minimizing risks of errors that could lead to problematic post-surgical recovery. This technique requires a urinary diversion and reconstruction of the removed bladder. During the procedure, the surgeon creates keyhole-sized incisions across the abdomen where the surgical robot’s hands are inserted. Featuring a high-definition 3-D view, the robot can distinguish delicate nerves and vital muscles providing an opportunity to preserve them. Dr. Balan’s Urology Clinic performs this innovative technique that both local patients and medical tourists can take advantage of.