Mary is ‘key’ to new trial

Mary Scott of Billingham, the first patient to be placed on the randomised clinical trial
Mary Scott of Billingham, the first patient to be placed on the randomised clinical trial

A PENSIONER has become the first UK person on a study into the effects of a specialist type of keyhole surgery.

Mary Scott, 72, was chosen for the study on single-port laparoscopic (keyhole) bowel surgery.

Mary, from Billingham, had an operation to remove early stage bowel cancer. She is the first of 50 patients on the trial that examines the potential benefits of laparoscopic surgery through a single access point, compared with the standard four or five access points.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been at the leading edge of minimal access surgery for years.

But surgeons Talvinder Gill and Dharmendra Garg have gone further and done more than 150 single-port laparoscopic procedures, putting them among the top three centres in the UK.

The use of a single access point is technically more challenging, but the results have not found any difference with standard procedures.

The new trial – the first of its type in the UK – saw patients being chosen for different types of surgery to assess whether there are any intricate differences in the results achieved.

Patients did not know which technique had been used until their dressings were removed on the day they left hospital.

Colorectal surgeon David Borowski, lead investigator for the study, said: “We’re very excited about carrying out this trial. Through previous research we know that keyhole surgery is safe, less painful and has a quicker recovery than open surgery carried out through a long incision.

“Patients are out of the hospital within a few days, and the cuts are almost invisible after a short time.”

He said the study would give the answer on whether a single cut in keyhole surgery had advantages over keyhole surgery through several small cuts

“When we have signed up and treated 50 patients on this trial, which we expect to do by the end of this year, we will be able to apply for funding for a larger trial so that this innovative and important medical advance can continue to develop.”

Mary said: “I was pleased to be asked to be part of the trial. I needed the operation anyway so it was just a case of it being done by one of two different techniques.

“I had my operation on the Monday and was home on the Thursday.

“I found out when the dressings came off that I’d had single port access surgery. I was given very good pain relief and had a comfortable stay in hospital.”