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A robotic surgery first for Frank

2023-12-20T09:40:27+00:00Wednesday 20 December 2023|

A Walsall father has become one of the first patients in the region to have his throat cancer removed through robotic surgery.

Frank George, 56, underwent robotic surgery for throat cancer at New Cross Hospital, part of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), after discovering a pea-sized lump while shaving.

The same Da Vinci robot is used in throat cancers as in Urological and Colorectal cases but with different arms. Benefits of this type of surgery include shorter time in surgery and recovery, reduced anaesthetic and less time in theatre, leading to more capacity for more cases.

Mr Syed Farhan Ahsan, Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon at RWT, has led this development with the assistance of Mr John Murphy, Consultant ENT Surgeon and Divisional Medical Director at RWT.

Frank, who works as a trailer loader, was diagnosed with a metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. A biopsy proved inconclusive but suspicious cells were found.

In a four-hour operation at New Cross Hospital, the father of two had his tonsils removed after a growth was found on his right tonsil and a tumour was removed from his neck.

After the robotic surgery, Frank – whose eldest daughter is training to be a Nurse – spent one night in the Integrated Critical Care Unit (ICCU).

The following day he was moved to a ward in the Heart and Lung Centre and was able to eat a bowl of porridge, pie and mash and Maltesers.

The success of Frank’s surgery is an example of the collaboration between RWT and partners Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

Heavy metal fan Frank, who is friends with former Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins recalled: “I decided the lump needed investigating and my GP referred me to Mr Emmanuel Diakos, Consultant, at Walsall Manor, who booked me in for a biopsy.

“The results were inconclusive but they found suspicious cells. That’s when I was referred to New Cross.”

“I feel fine,” said Frank, who recovered from a stroke in May after treatment at Walsall Manor Hospital and New Cross. “I have a scar on my neck which I’m told will heal but I was out walking within a few days of being discharged.

“I’m only too happy to have been a major part of this development.”

It is hoped around 20 patients per year from Walsall, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire  will benefit from this surgery.

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