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Dr. George Kolyvas

Cutting-edge surgeries, here at home

Dr. George Kolyvas has been a neurosurgeon at the Saint John Regional Hospital for 18 years. He’s seen the hospital come a long way over the past two decades.

“When I first started, our neurosurgical department was providing service care only,” he said. “We’re now involved in academic projects, teaching residents, the medical school and research as well.”

The calibre of procedures the hospital’s neurosurgical team can complete has also increased dramatically in recent years. One of the key factors was the acquisition of $850,000 in new equipment through the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation’s 2013 The Give campaign. Surgeries that used to require incisions the size of tea saucers in patients’ skulls now involve much smaller – and safer – procedures.

“The focus was to purchase operative equipment to allow us to move toward minimally invasive brain surgery,” Dr. Kolyvas said. “We’re now able to get at lesions in the brain through keyhole-sized holes. The advantages of small openings are numerous: quicker in-and-out access, less anesthetic, less time in the operating room, less trauma to the brain and shorter length of stay in the hospital. All of these are for the well-being of the patient and decrease the chance of complications.”

Dr. Kolyvas says advancements in neurosurgery are happening all the time. To provide patients with the best care possible, a hospital must always look to improve its equipment and the skills of its doctors and nurses.

“If we stop progressing, or if we stagnate, we’re actually moving backward,” he said. “Because everyone else is moving forward.”

The Foundation’s contributions have been crucial to helping the neurosurgery department at the Saint John Regional Hospital operate at a world-class level, Dr. Kolyvas says.

“For a province our size, we’re doing very well. Even if comparing ourselves regionally, we are in excellent shape,” he said. “The Foundation plays a very important role in that. They’re key in allowing us to advance with new technology. They’ve accepted a number of our proposals over the years, and The Give was instrumental in helping us go beyond the scope of government funding. In the end, we’re all trying to help the people of NB, the public, our patients.”

Having the most advanced technology available to our physicians and nurses also helps ensure that the world’s top medical talent decides to practise here at home.

While it’s easy to focus on the quality of technology and equipment available to the hospital, Dr. Kolyvas says it’s critical to keep perspective on what’s most important: caring for patients.


“We’re looking to advance our skills, knowledge and equipment, but it always comes back to the patient. What we’re proposing and spending money on will help improve patient care. It will help patients through the most difficult treatments they will ever face, and in many cases, it will save lives. In the end, we’re all trying to help the people of NB, the public, our patients. And the Foundation plays a huge role in that.” - Dr. George Kolyvas, Neurosurgeon, Saint John Regional Hospital