Essex: Colchester General Hospital chosen to trial high-powered laser treatment

Colchester General Hospital is third in the country to trial state-of-the-art laser treatment.

Colchester General Hospital is third in the country to trial state-of-the-art laser treatment. Gerald Rix (seated) and Zafar Maan, consultant urological surgeons, preparing to perform a HoLEP procedure. - Credit: Archant

Colchester General has become only the third hospital in the UK to trial a state-of-the-art high-powered laser surgery.

The Holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) procedure is used to treat urological conditions, such as non-cancerous prostate growths.

The technique causes less blood loss, removes more tissue and results in a shorter hospital stay.

Colchester has been chosen to test the new high-powered laser as it specialises in the treatment, and has been offering a less powerful form of HoLEP since 2005.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT) which runs the hospital has three surgeons who use the technique, and the hospital is also a training centre for surgeons in Europe wishing to learn it.

Gerald Rix, a consultant urological surgeon and one of the three, said: “It is an extremely reliable and robust piece of kit but the new laser we’ve been trialling is quicker and more efficient.

“HoLEP is becoming increasingly popular and more and more patients are being referred to Colchester for this procedure so increased efficiency is very important to us.”

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During the procedure the laser is entered into the body via a fine telescope-line instrument is inserted into the urethra, the tube through which urine is passed.

It can be carried out either under a general anaesthetic or under a spinal anaesthetic where the patient remains awake but the body is numb from the waist down.

Patients are usually able to go home within 24 hours, and sometimes on the same day.

The procedure is also used to treat kidney stones.

Zafar Maan, another consultant urological surgeon, added: “Laser technology has been a revolution in the treatment of kidney stones and is key to producing high class outcomes for our patients.”