Marathon Addenbrooke's Op Caught On Camera

Viewers will get another insight into the cutting-edge operations at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s and Royal Papworth hospitals in next Tuesday’s episode of ‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’ on BBC Two.

In the second episode this month, at Royal Papworth Hospital, senior consultant thoracic surgeon, Aman Coonar (pictured), calls on the skills of Addenbrooke’s consultant plastic surgeon, Professor Charles Malata, to undertake a chest wall reconstruction on former builder, Kevin; a complex, marathon procedure that takes 18 hours. 

Backed by a team of 25 colleagues from both hospitals, the pair aim to close a cavity in Kevin’s back that hasn’t healed since he had a cancerous lung removed 17 years ago. The constant flow of fluid makes it impossible to lead a normal life and leaves him feeling miserable. 

Kevin, a grandfather of two from Peterborough, said: “I had been offered this operation a few years ago but put it off owing to the risk involved. In 2019 my quality of life hit an all-time low and both Mr Coonar and Professor Malata were confident they could fix me, so with their reassurances I decided to go ahead with the operation.”

In the same episode at Addenbrooke’s hospital, another highly-challenging operation also requires the skills of different specialists - consultant neurosurgeons, Richard Mannion, consultant ENT surgeon, Patrick Axon, and their expert team.

Their patient, 47-year-old father of four, Gulraiz, has a rare type of tumour called an acoustic neuroma growing at the back of the brain on his hearing nerve. If it’s not removed soon he will not survive.

Patrick’s job is to make a pathway to the tumour by drilling through Gulraiz’s skull from behind his left ear. Richard takes over for several hours of micro-dissection to painstakingly remove it, without damaging Gulraiz’s brain.

David Jenkins, Divisional Director for Surgery and Transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We carry out complex heart and lung operations every day, with some of the best outcomes internationally and it is a great opportunity to show the public what we can achieve.

"We are very grateful to patients like Kevin who took part in this filming for sharing their experiences at such a critical time in their lives.”

The next episode of ‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life, can be seen on BBC Two at 9pm on Tuesday October 13th.

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