Geoff Helper, 91, from Collier Row in Essex, had been troubled with an enlarged prostate gland for a number of years. His condition worsened when he was hospitalised for cellulitis, during which time he became generally unwell, immobile and unable to pass water. Although a catheter was inserted to help him, Geoff still experienced severe urinary infections, which were often painful, uncomfortable and frightening.
Geoff says, “I used to lead a wonderful social life. I loved travelling, going to community clubs and watching all kinds of sports. But because of the trouble I was having, I no longer felt up to going out and about. The infections had a bad effect on my life and made me miserable.”
Geoff sought medical advice about the possibility of having a prostate operation to help relieve his condition, but because of his age, he was told by doctors and consultants that an operation was not advisable.
This news made Geoff very depressed and feeling like he had nowhere to turn. Geoff’s family encouraged him to seek another opinion from Spire Roding Hospital in Redbridge, Essex. The private hospital has several Consultant Urologists who specialise in prostate problems, so Geoff was offered an appointment the same day with Consultant Urologist Mr Shiv Bhanot.
Geoff says, “I couldn’t believe I was able to see someone that day. Mr Bhanot was very pleasant, patient and understanding. Better still, he agreed to carry out some tests on me with a view to operating, to help me get my life back.”
Mr Bhanot says, “My policy is that as long as the patient in question is fit enough for surgery, then age should be no barrier.”
Several tests were carried out on Geoff that showed that he was quite fit for his age. Mr Bhanot recommended that a stent be inserted into Geoff’s prostate, which would open up the urethra and allow the urine to flow properly again.
Within just a few days, Geoff was booked in for surgery at Spire Roding Hospital. The procedure went well and Geoff experienced very little post-operative discomfort, despite the fact that his catheter had been removed.
Geoff remembers this time well; “My family couldn’t believe it when they came to see me shortly after the operation. I was sitting up, waiting for my lunch. No pain, just a massive smile!”
Mr Bhanot says, “Prostate problems in older men like Geoff are very common. Surgical techniques have improved, including keyhole operations and operations involving no cuts at all. The operation that Geoff had involved opening the blocked channel in his prostate without making any cuts - inside or outside the body. As a surgeon, the most crucial thing for me is to determine the most appropriate operation for each individual patient, based on my assessment of their condition. The quality of life for a man with a permanent catheter can be painful and undignified, and where possible, other options should be explored for them. For a fit man like Geoff, a long term catheter was not acceptable, and his problems were solved by a simple prostate stent.”
Mr Bhanot adds, “The team of nurses and doctors at Spire Roding who looked after Geoff were delighted about the great outcome of his operation.”
Six months on from the operation, Geoff is enjoying life to the full once again. He says, “Before having the stent, I was at a very low ebb and hadn’t been up to socialising for a long time. But I certainly feel like it now, and I’ve got a lot of making up to do! Mr Bhanot’s policy of age not being a barrier to surgery was so true. I really can’t thank everyone at Spire Roding enough, especially Mr Bhanot.”