“I love living in Cadier and Keer, a small village nearby Maastricht. Everywhere I look around my house there’s nature. I even have my own sheep and hive. This gives me a very free and rural feeling. Also, the city of Maastricht is located within a short cycling distance and there’s plenty to do in the city. Even though my husband, and two out of three children we have, live elsewhere in the Netherlands due to work and school, I really enjoy my life here in Maastricht.”
For 17 years Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy is a surgeon at Maastricht UMC+ hospital. She is specialized in the field of laparoscopic surgery, head and neck surgery and endocrine surgery. Opening an abdomen completely for surgery is no longer the case, and because of her specialisation she knows all about minimal invasive surgeries.
In 1991 Nicole Bouvy started as one of the first in the world, her PhD research on laparoscopic surgery. As a result, she is specialized in laparoscopic surgery for 19 years now. “My goal is to perform surgery without a knife and make surgery as minimal invasive as possible. This may sound a bit strange for a surgeon, but it’s the common thread that you’ll notice in all the research that I’m involved in”.
Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy has been involved in more than 200 research papers over the years. All these papers concerning diverse subjects on how to treat patients in a more minimal invasive way. Laparoscopic surgery for hernia, adhesions, new biomaterials, transoral surgery are just a few subjects within her large series of research. Even though all these topics may sound very diverse, they do have one thing in common. All these researches focus on making surgeries less invasive or relate to reducing complications (by cutting) after surgery. “By operating with laparoscopic surgery, you have less chance of complications such as wound problems and adhesions. When you use open abdominal surgery, within 10 years almost 10% of patients come back with adhesions, openings in the abdominal wall, etc. Thanks to laparoscopic surgery, you have fewer long-term complications”.
When we knew a little bit more about Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy and her specialisation, we asked her about the collaborations with hospitals and universities in the region. “We collaborate a lot with other technical universities in the Netherlands such as Eindhoven, Delft and Twente. But we also collaborate with other hospitals in the Netherlands and in the surrounding border region among which the UZ Leuven hospital and Klinikum Aachen. With Klinikum Aachen we work closely together on the development of new materials to heal the scars in the abdominal wall”.
Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy also explains us about the topics in which the Maastricht UMC+ excels compared to the rest of the Netherlands, Europe and sometimes even worldwide. “We are often asked to give lectures about the specialties we excel in at conferences. For myself this is the case in the field of transoral operations. This means that we operate through the mouth to reach organs as the oesophagus and stomach, the advantage is that you do not have to make scars in the abdominal wall in this way”. But there are several other specialisations on our department where the Maastricht UMC+ excels in. “We have several experts here in the hospital regarding various health problems concerning the anus, such as incontinence, haemorrhoids, tears and fistulas. We also have experts in the field of fighting rectal cancer, by not operating, but by using a special form of radiation and chemotherapy. We are also front runners in robotic surgery as the Maastricht UMC+ was one of the first hospitals in Europe using this robotic system”. The Maastricht UMC+ als has the best breast- and reconstructive surgeons for breast cancer and specialists in liver cancer.
We also asked Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy why she thinks Maastricht is the perfect conference destination. “A lot of people know Maastricht from the Schengen Treaty. It can be easily reached with a lot of airports within 1-hour distance. But it’s also a very beautiful city with magnificent historic buildings, cosy shops and lovely boutiques. Maastricht is a nice city to stroll through. This makes Maastricht an ideal conference destination to visit together with your partner. In addition, from 2021, the newly renovated MECC conference center can host conferences with up to 5.000 visitors. The city itself also has a wide range of hotels. I think that, if you put all these factors together, they make Maastricht a perfect conference destination”.
Prof. Dr. Nicole Bouvy explains why visiting a conference is so important. “If you attend a conference as a visitor you are able to network within your field of expertise and to set up new research as well, also you are able to share your latest insights and thoughts on certain topics with the rest of the world. Conferences have therefor always been very important to me, as a visitor but also as a speaker”.