PIONEERING surgeons from a health trust were today showing medical experts from around the UK how they have helped to change the lives of breast cancer patients.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust held a conference outlining the work that is done in the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees to carry out breast reconstruction for patients who have had lumps removed.
The technique, which uses the patient’s own fat to repair or reconstruct the breast, is only carried out at three centres across the country.
Delegates from around the UK were at the Stockton-based hospital today for a conference led by consultant surgeons Pud Bhaskar and Colm Hennessy.
Mr Bhaskar said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming surgeons from across the country to share what we have learned about this technique. It is helping women who have had a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy following a diagnosis of breast cancer.
“The technique requires a piece of specialist equipment to spin the fat cells to clean them and mix them with the patient’s naturally-occurring regenerative cells.
“We have been fortunate to have a second machine donated by Cytori, who are leading the world in this area.
“This means we can now offer this service at the University Hospital of North Tees as well as the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
“We are one of only three centres in the UK offering this technique and the conference aims to share our learning with other surgeons who are interested in developing this in their own hospitals.
“We are now seeing other uses for this technique which involves using a patient’s own fat tissue and naturally-occurring regenerative cells to correct or heal abnormalities.
“We are beginning to see the advantages of this therapy for women who have one breast which has not developed properly.
“The only option open to these women previously was an artificial breast implant, but these come with their own risks.
“How much better to be able to treat this condition, which can be very embarrassing and can lead to a serious loss of confidence and depression, with the woman’s own fat cells.”