Dr. Ho Choon Kiat

General Surgery

Credentials MBBS (Singapore) 1994 M.Med (Surg) (Singapore) 2002 FRCS (Edin) 1999 FRCS (Glasgow) 2000 FRCSEd (General Surgery) FAMS (Surgery)
Language English,Mandarin Chinese,Hokkien Dialect,Cantonese Dialect,Teochew Dialect

Dr Ho is an accredited consultant hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon. He specialises in the diagnosis and management of diseases of the the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and the pancreas. He also has subspecialty expertise in surgical oncology (surgery for cancer) and advanced laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery).

Dr Ho graduated from the medical school at the National University of Singapore in 1994, and obtained his fellowship diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh as well as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1999. In 2002, he was conferred the Master of Medicine (Surgery) by the National University of Singapore. He completed his advanced surgical training in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University Hospital and the National Cancer Centre. He was successful in the Joint Specialty Fellowship in General Surgery examination in 2003 and was certified a Specialist by the Specialist Accreditation Board of Singapore. He was subsequently admitted as a Fellow of the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine of Singapore. He is currently a member of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (IHPBA) as well as the Society of Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Society of Asia (ELSA).

As a recipient of the Human Manpower Development Programme (HMDP) scholarship in 2003, he went to the Surgical Clinic of the University of Heidelberg in Germany to pursue a Fellowship programme in pancreatic surgery and surgical oncology. Under the mentorship of Professor Markus Büchler and Professor Helmut Friess, both giants i the field of pancreatic surgery, he was exposed to wide repertoire of pancreatic operations for both malignant and benign diseases. He was schooled in the techniques on how to perform the different variants of pancreatic resection like the Whipple’s Operation, segmental pancreas resection, duodenum preserving pancreatic head resection tec. The comprehensive programme also included the peri-operative care of patients who went through major and complex operations. As the surgical clinic is also a tertiary referral centre for cancer, Dr Ho also participated in numerous oncological resectional operations of the liver, bile ducts, oesophagus, stomach, colon and rectum.

Following the completion of his HMDP programme, he was awarded the TTSH scholarship to take up a clinical fellowship in advanced laparoscopic surgery with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Australia. Renowned for their laparoscopic work, Dr Ho was trained in complex laparoscopic procedures including laparoscopic liver resections, laparoscopic pancreas operations, and laparoscopic colorectal resections. Since his return to TTSH, he has spearheaded the laparoscopic bile duct exploration and the laparoscopic liver resections programme. He and his team have since established their results in peer-reviewed journals. Besides hepatobiliary and pancreas operations, laparoscopic surgery remains his other main interest in his practice.
Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr Ho served as a consultant surgeon with the Department of General Surgery and the Digestive Disease Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was also the Director of the TTSH Endoscopy Centre. At the same time, he served as the Deputy Director of the TTSH Centre for Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, whose objectives to develop and promulgate the practice of minimally invasive surgery.

Besides his clinical work, he also dedicates a significant amount of time to research. His research interests mirror his clinical expertise and center around the surgical management of hepatobiliary diseases as well as laparoscopic surgery. He has authored several papers and book chapters including a chapter describing the techniques of pancreatic operations in “Surgery of the Liver, Biliary Tract and Pancreas 4th Edition” edited by Dr Leslie Blumgart. He is also an invited reviewer for the Singapore Medical Journal.

Dr Ho is a Senior Clinical Lecturer with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS, and he is involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. He was sponsored to attend the 4th NUS-Harvard Medical International programme for educators so as to fine-tune the teaching methods to cater for a new generation of medicine students, especially in this IT savvy age. He also ate on the Surgical Education Task Force to review the teaching techniques and to enhance the curriculum for surgical education.

Dr Ho finds being a surgeon an immensely gratifying calling. Surgery is a speciality whereby with the actions of the surgeons’ hands, one can see rapid, graphic results from their work. But the decision to bring a patient to surgery has to be tempered by good surgical judgement. Dr Ho feels that this is a quality that comes only after years of disciplined thoughtful reflection on the outcomes of his own decisions and those of others. For each and every patient, Dr Ho would go through this mental exercise of conceptualising the patient’s problem and understand what the surgery can do and cannot do to. Dr Ho understands that being a cancer surgeon, part of his work involves giving patients hope, but he is acutely aware of the dangers of over-selling hope in promising surgery will cure everything. Dr Ho guards against this by anchoring his surgical practise in this motto “?????????”, which means treating your patient in a way you yourself would like to be treated.

Another aspect of surgery that intrigues Dr Ho are the breath-taking advancements in the field of surgery that seems to happen every day. The surgical culture is one of continuous improvement, and that echoes Dr Ho’s own ethos of keeping abreast with new developments so as to ensure that his patients receive the best and most updated mode of treatment.
Being a good surgeon is not just about having good hands and hard science. As mentioned by Lindberg Simpson, besides having clarity of though, a good surgeon must have purity of intent with compassion for his patients. For the exemplary care and outstanding service shown by Dr Ho to his patients, he was awarded the National Healthcare Group Service Champion Award and the Excellent Service Award (EXSA).

In whatever free time he has, Dr Ho would spend it with his family. It gives him great joy to nurture his children through meaningful interactions and intentional mentoring. He would get his family involved in whatever community work he does, including medical missionary trips. Dr Ho hopes to teach his children, as well as to remind himself constantly, this important lesson: that one does not need everything in order to enjoy life, but to be thankful for life so that one may be able to enjoy everything.