New technique used to remove a rare tumour by Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital

June 6 2013

New technique used to remove a rare tumour by Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital 

A SELF-employed builder has become the first patient at Papworth Hospital to benefit from a state-of-the-art technique to remove a rare tumour.

Michael Kerr is preparing to go back to work just over a month after he had an uncommon tumour called a thymoma removed from his chest thanks to a non-invasive technique being introduced by Marco Scarci, a consultant thoracic (lung) surgeon at the UK’s leading heart and lung hospital.

The 57-year-old said his recovery has been remarkable after he was discharged from hospital just 48 hours after surgery, which involved making a small incision below his arm pit and using state-of-the-art equipment including an endoscopic camera, to remove the tumour. 

He said: “I’m over the moon with the procedure. I felt so much better after three or four days. I can’t thank Mr Scarci enough.” 

The traditional method of removing a tumour behind the breast bone would be to have a sternotomy, which involves breaking the sternum (breast bone) to remove it.  

Mr Kerr, a father-of-two from Peterborough, said: “It would have been an awful lot of pain to have it removed the traditional way, I imagine. This way meant I went home after two days and had the stitches removed at my local surgery.

“The results are unbelievable. It has meant I can go back to work sooner which is a great help as I am self-employed.”  

Following a sternotomy, patients would need to stay in hospital for five or six days following surgery and then take several months to recover fully at home.

Mr Scarci, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon holds his private practice at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, said: “Normally when you have a tumour behind the breast bone it is removed by splitting the breast bone in two. It can be quite invasive and painful.

“Traditionally a keyhole procedure involves three cuts but they are still quite painful. However this keyhole procedure on Mr Kerr was carried out with only one port – a medical appliance placed in the incision. There is no breaking of the chest bone or broken ribs and recovery is very quick.

“It is better for the patients, as they will spend less time in a hospital bed.”

Mr Scarci hopes to use this method more frequently wherever appropriate and also to treat young adults with a long-term condition which weakens muscles, called myasthenia gravis, using the procedure.

Mr Scarci holds his private practice at the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital and is group lead for Chest & Lung, Cambridge. The group treat private patients suffering with respiratory symptoms and conditions that may require treatment for on-going management from across the UK. Mr Marco Scarci works in partnership with Consultant chest physicians, radiologists and oncologists to provide expert advice, diagnosis, treatment and care at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital. The team members are widely known nationally and internationally for their contributions in their respective areas of expertise. They really understand the associated anxiety for patients and plan treatment around their needs.

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