A brand-new surgical laser is now in place at Leeds Cancer Centre, thanks to £138,000 raised in charity donations. Hospital charity Leeds Cares launched an appeal to buy the machine earlier in the year and it is now being used to support surgery in patients with primary and metastatic cancer in the lung.
The Limax laser is a small but extremely precise hand-held device that is used by surgeons to perform endobronchial treatment – the removal of blockages from the lungs or airway. It can also be used to cut cancer out of the lung whilst protecting a significant amount of the lung left behind.
After the charity reached their target in April, the equipment was purchased and now, more than twenty doctors and nurses have now been trained on how to use the laser in lung cancer surgery.
The first patient to be treated with the new laser was 71-year-old grandmother Lorraine Colley from Kettlethorpe in Wakefield. She underwent surgery earlier this week to remove a growth on her lung, after being diagnosed with cancer in 2016. After just a few days stay in the hospital, Lorraine is expected to be able to return home to her children and grandchildren by the weekend.
Mr Kostas Papagiannopoulos, a Senior Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Leeds Cancer Centre, performed Lorraine’s surgery. He said:
“We use the laser on patients who might be more complex or whose tumours are very close to other organs or arteries. The laser allows us to reach difficult places within the airway and lungs with very minimal blood loss. The surgery time is also often quicker, meaning the patient recovers from the anaesthetic more quickly.
“We are extremely grateful to all the people who have donated to this appeal; their wonderful contribution and consideration have equipped us with a tool which will transform the way we are able to provide surgery to lung cancer patients in Yorkshire.”
The laser offers a modern way to perform surgeries with a substantial benefit for patients. Currently, surgery to treat cancer in the lungs or airway is performed via traditional methods. This means that sometimes more lung tissue is removed which takes breathing capacity away from patients.
Use of the laser means a reduction in damaged healthy tissue, a shorter stay in the hospital for the patient and a better quality of life following surgery.