Melbourne

Your Local Specialists

Freemasons Medical Centre
Dr Jim Tsaltas
Prof Peter Maher
Dr Luk Rombauts

Supported by:

Physiotherapist
Chiropractor
Naturopath
Psychologist
Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture
Masseur

FREEMASONS HOSPITAL

ECCA NATIONAL OFFICE, MELBOURNE


ECCA originated in Melbourne in 1998. Our clinic is situated in East Melbourne, at Freemasons Hospital. As you step inside, you will greeted by our friendly staff. They deal with endometriosis patients on a daily basis.

Information regarding clinic appointments can be obtained by calling the ECCA office on 9415 6855. Clinics are held regularly, and you should not have to wait more than 3 weeks to be seen. The clinic is located at our new facilities at Freemasons Hospital; 320 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne 3002. We ask you to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a patient profile sheet. This document gives us information about your history and current symptoms. This is used as the basis of your consultation.

You will need a letter of referral from your GP to attend the clinic. Private health insurance is not required to attend, fees charged are in accordance with those set by the Australian Medical Association. An appointment consists of a consultation with one of our specialist gynecologists. You should expect the whole process to take approximately 1 hour. For what happens from here, please refer to our treatment flow chart.

It is important to note that privately insured patients will be operated on in a private hospital by their clinician. Uninsured patients however will be placed on the public waiting list which may be up to 12 months before they have their surgery. These patients may elect to pay, and go privately.
Please feel free to call or contact us with your queries.

Our surgeons at ECCA are world experts in the surgical management of endometriosis. They have trained for many years to provide the highest level of care. They are all involved in teaching advanced laparoscopic surgery and doing research into endometriosis.

DR JIM TSALTAS

(National Director)

Jim Tsaltas graduated from Melbourne University in 1985. He completed his two year residency at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and then decided to train in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash Medical Centre and the Royal Women’s Hospital. In 1992 he moved to the United Kingdom for further postgraduate training, At this time he decided to specialise in endoscopic surgery and in particular the management of endometriosis. On his return to Australia he did two years of advanced training in endoscopic surgery at Monash Medical Centre.

During his fellowship he developed a close working relationship with Professor Carl Wood. He has an active role in the management of infertility through his association with Melbourne IVF. Being an Infertility specialist which compliments the way he approaches endometriosis management. This allows Jim to follow his patients and if they do not fall pregnant spontaneously treat them himself if they require IVF rather than referring to another practitioner. He is currently one of the directors of Melbourne IVF.

Jim believes that "endometriosis has always been a disease which is extremely difficult to manage. However, now with modern endoscopic surgical techniques and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment new hope is available to women. One of the cornerstones of management is the empowerment of women so that they can be actively involved in the decision making process when treating their endometriosis."

Jim is currently the head of the unit of the Monash Medical Centre Endosurgical Unit and performs complex laparoscopic surgery to treat endometriosis and other gynaecological conditions. He is the vice president of the Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society and is the chairman of the societies education subcommittee. He has published over 30 articles and authored a number of book chapters and regularly speaks at international meetings. He is currently involved in teaching endoscopic surgery to gynaecologists from around Australia through the Monash University preceptorship program and is performing research into the causes of endometriosis. He is a board member of the International society of Gynaecological Endoscopy.

Jim is married and when not spending time with his wife and baby daughter, tries to keep up with his jogging and swimming as well as his other interests, theatre and the cinema.

PROF PETER MAHER

(National Director)

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR PETER MAHER FRCOG FRACOG
Peter Maher graduated from Monash University in 1971. He entered the Ob/Gyn training scheme in 1974 when he did a St Vincent’s Hospital/ Mercy Maternity Hospital rotation. At the completion of his training at the Mercy Hospital he was admitted to membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London. Following two years of post-graduate training and study in the United Kingdom he returned to Australia and commenced consultant practice in Melbourne in 1979.

He was also appointed to a visiting consultancy in Ob/Gyn at the Mercy Hospital for Women through the University of Melbourne department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Peter Maher is now the Director of Endosurgery (minimally invasive surgery) at the hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He is active in many medical societies including the Australian Gynaecological Endoscopy Society ( President 1995-1999), International Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy (Board member 1997-2001 ) American Association of Gynaecological Laparoscopists, The Fertility Society of Australia and the Australian Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. He has co-authored more than 100 publications including book ,chapters on endoscopy. He has travelled and operated in several countries around the world including: Britain, the United States, India, Indonesia and Russia. Peter is currently president of the International Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy.

Peter believes that "endometriosis in its worst form is like a malignant disease. It spreads relentlessly throughout the pelvis causing immeasurable suffering to patients of all ages" "Patients with endometriosis need time and understanding. They have often been bounced backwards and forwards to and from doctor to doctor without answers. It is very rewarding to be able to offer help to these often long suffering patients" "Excisional surgery is the mainstay of treatment" says Professor Maher "but we always try to retain fertility where possible. Drugs may sometimes be necessary after surgery along with natural therapies"

On a personal note, golf, sailing and spending time with his adult family fill in the leisure hours that are left after a busy professional life. His wife of 27 years was initially delighted when he ceased obstetric practice but an active academic and practical gynaecological practice with his long standing friend and colleague Carl Wood has challenged their "off duty" time together.

Summary: Professor Maher, a pioneer in Australia in some types of endoscopic surgery is thrilled that endoscopy does offer patients an improved outcome in all but the most severe endometriosis.

Visit Prof. Maher Home Page

Associate Professor LUK ROMBAUTS


After graduating from the medical faculty of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), one of the oldest in the world, he completed a PhD at the
same university. For the last two years of his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology he came to Australia taking up a two-year position in 1994 as Clinical Research Fellow at Monash IVF.

In 1996 Dr Rombauts joined the IVF team of Prof. Gordts, Prof. Brosens and Dr Campo at the Leuven Institute of Fertility and Embryology (Belgium) where he helped develop a new endoscopic technique.

He returned to Melbourne in 1998 to obtain his subspecialist Certificate of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (CREI). He has since been accredited by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as a training supervisor for the CREI.

In 1999 Luk joined ECCA to become a member of the expert surgical team and he was later appointed Research Director of ECCA.

Luk became a Board Member of the World Endometriosis Society in 2008 and is the editor of the World Endometriosis Society's bi-monthly electronic journal.
Luk is also the Research Director of Monash IVF and sits on the Monash IVF Board of Directors. He holds an appointment as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University and is a Research Fellow of the Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research, where he is conducting research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council in the fields of endometriosis and embryo implantation. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Fertility Society of Australia. He has published several books and over 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Luk strongly believes that the multidisciplinary approach of ECCA is a big step in the right direction for endometriosis patients. Although endometriosis really requires surgery to control the disease, he emphasises the importance of not overlooking other aspects of a woman's well-being.

Luk loves spending time with his family. He likes sailing and skiing and any spare time goes to travel, painting and staying on top of computer technology.

For appointments visit the home page of Associate Professor Luk Rombauts.

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MS HELENA FRAWLEY

Physiotherapy

Helena Frawley is a Physiotherapist with a special interest in Continence and Pelvic Floor Muscle Rehabilitation, With a post graduate qualification in this area. Helena has been a physiotherapist since 1984. She established a Private Practice in Women’s Health and Continence Physiotherapy in 1992 and has continued her focus on issues of pelvic floor dysfunction, incorporating bladder and bowel incontinence since then. The practice has 6 physiotherapists who work in the area of Women’s health.

Helena has an interest in education as well as clinical areas. She regularly teaches colleagues who wish to develop an interest and expertise in this area.

Helena is on the post Graduate Course Advisory Committee at the university Of Melbourne, and assisted in the establishment of the first post graduate qualification in the field in Australia. She has a special interest in the use of outcome measure in clinical practice, and in the field of chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis.

Helena represents her professional work on many committees and has been the past chairperson of the Victorian Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapy Group. She is currently a board member of the national Continence Foundation of Australia and is the state representative for the
Victorian Branch of the CDA.

Helena brings a physiotherapy approach to the integrated management of pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.

MS ANNE DIGBY

Naturopath

The basic principle of naturopathy is the profound belief that, given the proper environment, the body has an intrinsic ability to heal itself and achieve a state of balance and that disease is an expression of disharmony affecting the whole being.

Accordingly, the initial consultation is an extensive investigation to assess the underlying cause and thus the specific treatment required. My experience with women’s health includes an association with Monash IVF that began in 1983.

From 1989 to 1995, I was employed by Professor Carl Wood and Monash University and qualified as a naturopath during that time. I began consulting at Cliveden Hill Private Hospital in 1997 and now have a private clinic in Kew, dealing exclusively in women’s health.

Primarily, I offer my patients guidance and flexibility in developing a treatment program that suits their individual needs. This involves giving the patient a variety of management options if appropriate and through mutual agreement, implementing treatment. Because of the chronic nature of endometriosis, the treatment is often long term and requires some commitment from the patient to achieve symptomatic relief and lasting health. I generally concentrate on improving three areas: in particular the hormonal, immune and circulatory systems and I use a range of modalities including herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, vitamin therapy and acupuncture depending on the specific needs of the patient.

MS LIZ CROCKER

Counselling Support for Women with Endometriosis and Their Families

Liz Crocker is a registered psychologist who has been a member of the Australian Psychological Society Since 1972.

With over twenty-five year's experience as a psychologist specialising in Women's Health Issues, Liz is well placed to support women to deal with their feelings and reactions to having endometriosis and provides practical tools they can use to improve their quality of life. She helps women learn how to understand and track their energy and gain new perspective on themselves and their issues.

She has found that women release their emotional burdens, they have more resources available to deal with their disease and coping with endometriosis becomes easier.

Relations can also become difficult when a woman is trying to cope with endometriosis and Liz provides support for women and their partners. This is particularly useful when a woman is dealing with difficult issues such as infertility or the decision to have a hysterectomy.

Liz sees counselling as an integral part of the ECCA program and supports women to make use of this service. She believes that every woman can benefit from counselling as it assists them to free up their internal resources, Improves their ability to cope with the disease and can help to relieve the impact of the symptoms, She recognises that endometriosis can also be stressful for the rest of the family. Consequently counselling support is also available for partners, mothers and other family members. Liz runs a support group for endometriosis sufferers held at the Freemasons Hospital.

MS LINDA WILSON

Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.

My interest in Asian cultures/people was first sparked as a child in Alice Springs when a Philippino family moved next door. I have distinct memories of being fascinated by their looks, food and culture. Later in my life I travelled and lived in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Most recently my travels have been to China for a study course.

Throughout my travels I got a sense that there were other ways of viewing the human body, health and disease.

My curiosity has always taken me to see practitioners outside the western medicine paradigm. My decision to pursue Traditional Chinese medicine came about through my involvement with the student arm of the whole Health Institute. This was a group of students from all health modalities who got together on a social level to learn about each other’s form of health care. This group was specifically aimed at getting to know each other rather than as the profession we practised and to breakdown the barriers between professions for the benefit of all. When I first heard about ECCA I was delighted to know that on of the philosophies was to incorporate a variety of health care modalities.

I currently have two practices in Cranbourne and Upwey, Victoria.

This is my great attraction to ECCA a multi disciplinary approach is long overdue for all professions, but especially for clients. I have a great interest in education and presentation work as I see this as a professional responsibility, I also thoroughly enjoy it. This is what drew me to the Graduate Diploma through Deakin University. Women’s health in general but especially reproductive health especially close to my heart as I am at an age myself where I am looking at pursuing a family. Some of my most wonderful clinical experiences have involved seeing a caesarean section performed using acupuncture for pain control. Inducing my sister’s first child and assisting at the birth. I have also assisted several women with induction or breach presentations using acupuncture. Women’s gynaecological health is an enormous area within the TCM framework. Education is vital as people can only make choices if they have information I am currently pursuing speaking at the VIEW Club, Kiawani’s, Country Women’s Association, and the Casey Business Development Group.

Having just moved house my passions at the moment include unpacking1 my second clinic is also within my residence and this presents special challenges. I enjoy TaeBo, Yoga and walks with my Husband.

MS DEBORAH WEBSTER-BAIN

Acupuncturist

My name is Deborah Webster-Bain and I have been a registered nurse involved with critical care Nursing for the past twenty four years. Around six years ago, I became frustrated with the lack of holism with the Western medical practice, and became interested in other medical modalities. This led me to investigate the ancient treatment of acupuncture.

The main difference between Western medicine is the basic theory of the Chinese that there is a life force called Chi energy and when this energy force is imbalanced there is illness.

The theory of Acupuncture, which has been in constant use for the past 5000 years seemed to me to make a lot of sense as it takes into consideration the body mind and spirit aspect of our lives and does not seperate each aspect. In 1995, I completed my Diploma of Acupuncture. I then travelled to China and visited several of their lager hospitals in Beijing.

Acupuncture is considered just another treatment form that can be utilised for a variety of illnesses and patients receive treatment with Acupuncture as well as receiving Western medical treatment depending on the patient's medical condition. The two treatment modalities often compliment each other.

Over the past six years I have been able to help a lot of patients with their pain management and also help them to address some of the emotional issues that also occur when one is suffering from constant pain. This is because Acupuncture also release the "happy hormones" called endorphin's which can help to offer patient's a pill free way of pain relief that is often very long lasting. There is rarely a case where Acupuncture cannot do some amount of rebalancing to assist the patient to deal with their symptoms better and therefore feel better in themselves.

I am extremely pleased to now be included as one of the Registered Nurse Acupuncturist's for the Endometriosis Care Centre Australia. I look forward to being able to offer women with endometriosis my expertise in both Nursing and Acupuncture at my clinic in Reservoir.

MS JILL GRIFFITHS

Clinical Masseur.

Jill Griffiths attended the Victorian School of Massage, graduating in 1991, after studying Advanced Massage, including sports, remedial & acupressure techniques. She began a full time practice in 1995.

Working in a hospital environment, she became interested in trauma care & began researching material on pre-surgical care & post-trauma conditions, including oedema, scarred tissue & chronic pain. This led to further & ongoing studies in America.
Today, she works with the body's soft tissues, its fluids, articulations, bones, muscles & viscera, using techniques which can be applied to almost any ailment.

She practises a specific Lymphatic Therapy also, strongly recommending pre-surgical treatment for its benefits to the immune system, while it prepares the tissues for the intervention, clearing the lymph passages before the post-surgical oedema. Additionally, the therapy assists in the treatment of many conditions including Fibromyalgia Syndrome (today approximately the third most common rheumatic disease), irritable bowel & oedema's of many origins. She also teaches appropriate therapies to allow women to continue a home-based, self-care programme.