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‘Game-changing’ scanner to improve outlook for north-east cancer patients

Gwen Johnston, consultant anesthetist, Bassam Alkari and Irfan Ahmed, consultant HFB surgery
Gwen Johnston, consultant anesthetist, Bassam Alkari and Irfan Ahmed, consultant HFB surgery

A north-east medic has hailed the impact of “game-changing” equipment which could help save the lives of cancer patients.

The ultrasound scanner enables surgeons to remove areas of disease and locate small tumours more accurately resulting in “a reduction in hospital bed requirement, morbidity and mortality”.

Friends of ANCHOR and the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund contributed towards the purchase of the equipment which will mainly be used in operations to remove cancerous lesions from the liver and pancreas.

Better surgery performance will help decrease post-operative complications while improving recovery and cure rates.

‘It’s a game changer’

Bassam Alkari, a consultant Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary (HPB) surgeon for NHS Grampian, applied for funding after being trained to use the scanner by a liver-preservation surgeon in Milan.

He said: “We’ve been using this new tool day in, day out, and it’s had a significant impact on our productivity. It’s particularly useful in complex cases, where the patient wouldn’t have otherwise been a suitable candidate for a liver resection.

“It has increased the number of patients who are deemed resectable by around 20%; in that respect it’s a game changer. There’s a whole new cohort of patients who now have the opportunity for this treatment.

“More keyhole surgeries and more liver preservation means quicker, more accurate surgery and faster recovery with less complications, so as well as the increased numbers of resections, we’re seeing quicker recovery and a reduction in hospital bed requirement, morbidity and mortality.”

Bassam Alkari with the new ultrasound machine. Supplied by Friends of ANCHOR.

Benefiting the north-east

The equipment, developed by Hitachi, cost £128,542 which was divided between the charities and Scottish Government funding won by Mr Alkari.

The two north-east charities previously funded software to transform radiotherapy treatment at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).

Charity director Sarah-Jane Hogg said Friends of ANCHOR were pleased to join forces with the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund again to support the new ultrasound investment.

She added: “Having this equipment available in NHS Grampian gives North-east patients the assurance that they are receiving optimal treatment, with the best possible equipment.

“Combined with the expertise of an experienced team of HPB surgeons, this gives patients the best possible chance of life and time with their families.

“It’s thanks to donors that Friends of ANCHOR could play a part in bringing this kit to Aberdeen and we’d like to say a huge thank you to them for making investments like these possible.”

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