The Royal United Hospital in Bath has become one of five trusts in the UK to introduce an innovative piece of equipment for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
The PlasmaJet Ultra is more successful in removing all traces of a tumour than more traditional surgical methods, leading to better patient outcomes.
Jonathan Frost, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at the RUH said: “This is an invaluable tool in advanced ovarian cancer, where the tumour is typically found in multiple nodules on the surface of organs and tissues such as the bowel.
“We know that this is going to make such a difference to our patients and their quality of life and we are delighted to be able to offer this advancement in cancer treatment to our patients at the RUH.”
Some women undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer need to have parts of their bowel removed in order to eradicate the disease. In some cases, this means patients need a stoma and possible further follow-up surgeries.
The PlasmaJet Ultra uses the plasma energy from ionised argon gas to destroy cancer cells safely during surgery.
This makes it easier to remove cancer cells from structures such as the bowel and diaphragm, without causing damage to healthy surrounding tissue.
As a result, there may be no need to remove the tissue in these areas, which reduces the impact on a patient’s quality of life after their surgery and the amount of time they stay in hospital.
Jonathan added: “Now we have the PlasmaJet Ultra, we’re able to vaporise a tumour from tissues more precisely, causing minimal damage to areas such as the bowel so patients have better outcomes and a shorter recovery period.
“Using the PlasmaJet we can avoid bowel surgery and stomas in some patients.”
The new equipment can also reduce the length of time it takes to operate which reduces the risk of complications for the patient, such as infections.
Joan, 75, from Midsomer Norton, recently benefited from this surgery.
She said: “I was first diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago and underwent surgery back then to treat it. Unfortunately my recovery was long and very painful.
“Six weeks ago, I had PlasmaJet surgery at the RUH and the difference in my recovery has been incredible.
“I was mobile within three days, walking within five, and now six weeks on I’m able to comfortably potter around the house and go on short country walks.
“There has been less pain this time around too and that’s made my emotional recovery much easier. This new equipment meant I didn’t have to have a stoma either, which would have been life-changing.
“The care I received at the RUH was exemplary. It was amazing to be able to benefit from this surgery and I’m so pleased others like me will be able to benefit from this now too. I was given my whole life back and I’m forever grateful to the team.”