Bury St Edmunds: More pinhole surgery possible in new hospital suite

HEALTH chiefs say a new x-ray machine bought at a Suffolk hospital will cut the need for invasive surgery.

A greater range of “pinhole” procedures will be on offer at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds as a result of the new �273,000 x-ray suite.

The new unit produces much higher quality images than the previous 12-year-old system, making much greater use of pinhole techniques possible.

Doctors say the x-ray machine will make less invasive procedures more widely available.

Examples include angiography, in which a contrast agent which shows up in x-rays is added to the arteries to help locate blockages. If a blockage is found, the machine can then be used for angioplasty, which widens the arteries and restores blood flow.

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Other treatments include dealing with fibroid tumours in the uterus with embolisation, which shrinks tumours by intentionally blocking the blood vessels which supply them.

“The x-ray machine which was in room one had become outdated and was no longer producing images which met the high standards we require,” said Dr Vinod Shenoy, consultant radiologist. “We are delighted that we have been able to replace it with the very latest technology.

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“New equipment allows us to offer a much wider range of procedures, many of which were previously only available at neighbouring hospitals or were carried out in the operating theatre.

“This brings huge benefits to both our patients and the trust. Not only does it prevent patients from having to travel elsewhere, but it also removes the risks associated with general anaesthetic and reduces their length of stay.

“When previously patients would have remained in hospital overnight, they are now with us for a few hours and can then walk home.

“That is not only fantastic news for them, but it also more cost effective and means we can can keep hospital beds free for those people who need acute medical care.”

The infection control standards in the new x-ray unit are the same as in an operating theatre. It has an air handling unit which changes the air 15 times every hour.

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