In Specialist Spotlight we profile Dr Tran Nguyen, a gynaecologist who is a visiting specialist at NECH. Dr Nguyen’s passion is in general gynaecology and fertility preservation. Dr Nguyen says care at NECH for her patients has been “exceptional”.
Dr Nguyen, how did you start in medicine and how did you choose your specialty?
My career in medicine started in Houston, Texas, where I completed my Master’s Degree in Health Administration and subsequently helped build a boutique surgical hospital there. Although I enjoyed the medical management side of healthcare, my passion was clearly clinical. During my undergraduate degree, I found the embryology subject fascinating. So, I took a chance and pursued a career change from business to medicine. After 12 years in Texas, I returned to Adelaide to study medicine and continued to love my O&G experience. I had the opportunity to train in O&G in Mount Gambier, Darwin, Oxford and Adelaide. During my specialist training, I focused in minimally invasive surgery, especially in endometriosis and pelvic floor repair. I have completed an AGES Fellowship, which is a two year program with intensive advanced laparoscopic and vaginal surgery training.
My passion is in general gynaecology and fertility preservation. I can support women and couples through ovulation induction, fertility preservation, in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive techniques. I also offer regenerative medicine treatments as a part of my armamentarium. This includes platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections into the ovaries as a novel treatment aimed to improve ovarian function. This can be used for women with low ovarian reserve and primary ovarian insufficiency. PRP can also be instilled into the uterine cavity to help with thin endometrium and improve implantation chances.
I am an advocate for maximising natural fertility, which can be laparoscopic excision of endometriosis to reduce inflammation in the pelvis. Sometimes surgery is also necessary to remove endometrial polyps, abnormal fallopian tubes, fibroids and ovarian cysts that may impede natural fertility.
It is such a privilege to be able to help women through their different aspects of life. It is important for women to have earlier referrals to the gynaecologists if they have menstrual issues, abnormal PV bleeding and non-specific pelvic pain. Endometriosis has a delayed diagnosis of over 7 years. My aim is to help women have earlier detection and treatment of gynaecologic symptoms.
Women lose 88% of their oocytes by 30 years of age and 97% of their oocytes by 40 years of age. Egg quality is best when younger. Egg harvesting is more successful now with the vitrification freezing technology. Fertility preservation is more available and should be discussed at early appointments.
Was there any one patient or experience in medicine that has inspired you?
I had friends who needed fertility assistance. In particular, one friend had a chromosomal condition that made her lose eggs more rapidly than usual for her age. I tried to help support her during her fertility journey and fell in love with reproductive medicine through that experience. I am fascinated about the miracle of life, the ground-breaking research and development in the IVF world. I am an advocate for ongoing professional development. I am curious about how to improve fertility for women, especially those with low ovarian reserve and endometriosis. It is a natural physiological process for women over 35 years of age to start having diminished fertility. Nowadays, women are deferring fertility and pursuing career goals instead. I am very supportive of such ambition but worry about the long term impact it may have on women’s fertility. Hence I have a strong passion for promoting fertility preservation. It can be through oocyte preservation (egg freezing); it can be through platelet rich plasma (PRP) which is a novel treatment aimed at helping ovarian function.
What has your experience been at NECH? How do you find the NECH community?
Since expanding my private practice from Ashford to Windsor Gardens, I was in search of a nearby hospital for my patients to have surgery. NECH has provided exceptional care all round. My patients often tell me that they have had amazing care on the wards and during their perioperative management. I am impressed with the caring nature and dedication that the theatre staff have for my patients and I feel so welcomed when I visit NECH. The ward staff and executive team at NECH are extremely helpful and accommodating. I have asked for special equipments and it was promptly actioned. I am so grateful for the professionalism and high standard of care provided by all staff at NECH.