Hospital pilots pioneering operating technique

Surgeon Mr Anjay Talwar at Dorset County Hospital

DORSET County Hospital has been chosen as one of five pilot training sites for an enhanced operating technique for patients with rectal cancer.

Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision (TaTME) is a different approach to an existing operation, using a keyhole technique to operate on patients with rectal cancer, reducing the length of the surgery and potentially improving cancer survival rates for patients. The technique has been used by pioneering surgeons since 2010.

Under a new training programme organised by the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI) these surgeons are now training others in the technique.

The ACPGBI, the body who govern colorectal surgery, is keen that the introduction of this procedure should be carefully planned and that surgeons should be well trained to ensure the best possible results for patients.

The ACPGBI asked for applications from hospitals that wanted to be pilot training sites. Of the 29 hospitals expressing and interest, five were successful, including Dorset County Hospital.

The application comprised submission of evidence on the surgical experience of the team and managerial support for the programme, and two unedited videos of laparoscopic (keyhole) low anterior resection operations, performed by Mr Anjay Talwar and Mr Paul Ng, Consultant Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgeons at the hospital.

These videos were scrutinised by a panel of TaTME experts, who then graded the quality of the surgery.

Mr Talwar said: “We are very proud that the ACPGBI have recognised the excellent work we are already performing at the hospital in relation to rectal cancer operations, and we are excited to be bringing this pioneering procedure to our patients.

“The team has already attended a two day ‘skills lab’ training session, and under the pilot training programme we will have clinical mentorship throughout the initial cases and will submit data on our clinical results to the ACPGBI.”

The hospital has thanked the Friends of Dorset County Hospital who have recognised the importance of this programme and donated over £27,000 to fund two pieces of equipment that experts regard as essential to this form of surgery.