35,000 people from over 100 countries tuned in live to watch one of the biggest online surgical symposia in December 2016. This momentous event was hosted by UCLH and featured the surgical department’s flashy new piece of equipment – a Pinpoint HD Laparoscopic Fluorescent Imaging System funded by UCLH Charity.
Speaking about the exceptional potential that this new purchase brings, Mr Manish Chand, a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer at UCLH as well as the chair of December’s global meeting, says that the equipment is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients who will suffer from an anastomotic leak – a potentially life-threatening complication that can occur following surgery to remove cancerous tumours of the bowel.
Manish explains that patients who are treated for bowel cancer by open or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery will have the part of the colon that contains the tumour removed, and the ends of the colon will be joined back together. The joining point is called an anastomosis, and 5-10% of patients who receive this operation will experience an anastomotic leak, a painful and serious complication that will cause prolonged hospital stay and often an emergency operation.
“It’s estimated that just one of these leaks per patient costs the NHS an extra £17,000, not to mention causing additional pain and misery to the patient”, Manish states, and adds that this is why investing in equipment that reduces this risk is so important.
The Pinpoint HD Laparoscopic Fluorescent Imaging System works by injecting fluorescent dye into the colon, which the equipment translates into an image that is visible to the human eye. Using this, doctors can more objectively assess blood flow to the colon ends and determine if that part of the bowel is healthy, and if the anastomosis will be successful.
With the imaging system, it’s estimated that the percentage of patients who will experience an anastomotic leak will be reduced to as low as 1.3%, which is a significant reduction, and means a substantial financial saving for the NHS. The equipment cost £96,500 but Manish explains that it’s an investment which will produce cost savings in the long term.
At £10 per case of ink, the equipment is low cost to run and there are further possibilities as to its uses. “The Pinpoint HD Laparoscopic Fluorescent Imaging System could be used in gynaecological surgery, gallbladder surgery, thyroid operations and it is also in trials for identifying glands involved with colorectal cancer.”
“Purchasing this latest kit is a huge win for the department and UCLH in general. It shows that UCLH is committed to the best patient outcomes and to implementing the best standards of care.”
To view the imaging system in action visit: https://aischannel.com/live-surgery/winter-event-2016/. Note this isn’t for the faint hearted!