Patients who once stayed in hospital for two weeks or more following cancer surgery are now going home after as little as two days.

Consultant surgeon Tarek Hany is achieving the remarkable results using evidenced-based enhanced recovery techniques for patients at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust who need bowel cancer surgery.

“For many years surgeons and other health professionals have used unproven methods for treating patients who need bowel surgery,” said Mr Hany.

“This has included starving patients before and after surgery, using pain control methods that actually delay recovery, and prescribing routine bowel preparation that caused unnecessary discomfort to patients.”

ots-southport and formby dgh trust Ian Whyte_0

The enhanced recovery model encourages patients to eat and drink up to a few hours before surgery and immediately afterward which helps bowel function return much earlier.

Mr Hany added: “We also use ‘keyhole’ surgery as standard on the majority of patients which ensures a smaller incision and quicker recovery.”

More than 50 patients have benefitted from the new surgery technique since it was introduced a year ago. The oldest patient was 92-years-old and went home just six days after surgery.

“After one year, the scheme is as successful as anywhere in the country,” said Mr Hany. “The welfare and needs of patients are at the heart of this new standard of care. They are closely followed up after surgery and told whom and where to call if they need help 24/7.”

Case study: ‘I was out of bed and walking around within hours’

Ian Whyte is well-placed to comment on the enhanced recovery model in bowel surgery.

Fifty-nine year-old Ian underwent surgery to remove a tumour in 2005, leaving Southport hospital after 10 days and with an 11-inch scar across his abdomen.

Last May a further tumour was discovered in his colon during a routine check-up and he underwent a second operation using the new techniques.

“I had no complaints about the first operation but this time I was out of bed and walking around in a matter of hours – and this time with only a three-inch scar thanks to the ‘keyhole’ surgery,” said Ian, from Aughton, near Ormskirk.

“I am amazed how the surgery and post-operative recovery process has changed for the better.

“I was admitted on Wednesday, the operation took place on Thursday and I was back at home, fully mobile eating normally by Sunday lunchtime.

“Being able to eat normally, so quickly, coupled with no real loss of mobility was a very welcome surprise. Overall it was less invasive and less painful,” he said.

Ian, who is a former director of refrigeration and air conditioning engineering companies, has been married to Linda for 40 years and they have a grown-up son.

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