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#Colchester General Hospital surgeons first to pilot new laser

18 Aug #Colchester General Hospital surgeons first to pilot new laser

Colchester General Hospital has been chosen as the first hospital in the world to introduce the latest version of a state-of-the-art high-powered laser for urological surgery.

The laser, which is the latest model manufactured by Israeli company Lumenis, is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in which the prostate gland enlarges, making it difficult to urinate, and also to break up extremely hard kidney stones.

Mr Gerald Rix, Consultant Urological Surgeon, said a procedure called Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) had been used in Colchester to treat BPH for more than 10 years.

“It has become an increasingly common technique in the UK but when it started Colchester was in the vanguard,” he said.

“Colchester is renowned for its expertise in HoLEP. Our unit has been training surgeons in the technique, both here in the UK and in Europe since the procedure became established as an excellent treatment for men with problems urinating.

“It was extremely flattering to be asked by Lumenis to pilot their latest model which means we’ve been able to take advantage of the cutting edge technology for the benefit of our patients.”

Technicians from Israel have visited Colchester General Hospital to brief surgeons on the features of the new laser, which is fully certified for use as a medical device and would cost about £200,000 to buy.

Mr Rix said he and his colleagues have found that the new model gives surgeons greater control of bleeding, makes surgery safer and reduces the amount of time it takes to carry out procedures.

Lasers are used to carry out a total of approximately 250 prostate and kidney stone operations in Colchester every year. On average, it takes about 75 minutes for laser prostate surgery and about 40 minutes for a kidney stone operation.

Owing to Colchester’s reputation for using laser technology for urological operations, its surgeons have treated patients from as far afield as Manchester.

Mr Rix and his colleagues have been providing feedback to the manufacturer on the performance of its new laser and his ambition is to buy one for Colchester.

During a HoLEP procedure, a fine telescope-like instrument is inserted into the patient’s urethra (the tube through which urine is passed).

The laser is then inserted through this instrument and used to carefully remove the excess prostate tissue that is obstructing the urethra.

Patients are usually able to go home within 24 hours and it is sometimes possible for them to return home on the same day.