QA Hospital: Waterlooville mum praises rapid new procedure to treat benign throat lumps

A new procedure to treat patients with benign throat lumps, providing an alternative to surgery, has changed the life of a full-time carer.
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Emily Taylor from Waterlooville has faced years of issues with her oesophagus due to a rare disorder which affects her swallowing. During a routine hospital visit, the mum-of-two was found to have a lump in her neck – known as a benign thyroid nodule – that she thought she faced having to have drained frequently.

Emily said: “Due to the amount of surgeries I have had in the past, they didn’t want to operate again so close to my oesophagus. I had it drained and I instantly felt better but it swelled again just a week later. Dr Ball then told me about this new procedure that he thought I would be a good candidate for which could be done in a day and get rid of the mass.”

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Emily was one of the first patients to have Thyroid Microwave Ablation at Queen Alexandra Hospital, which is one of only two hospitals to provide this service across the country. The procedure uses a needle which is inserted into the thyroid nodule and microwaves are sent through it to destroy the mass.

Emily Taylor after thyroid microwave ablationEmily Taylor after thyroid microwave ablation
Emily Taylor after thyroid microwave ablation

She added: “I have had many surgeries in my life and these can sometimes mean you have to be in hospital overnight or for a few days. With this procedure I was at the hospital for five hours and home in time for dinner. This makes a massive difference to people like me as I am a full time carer for my disabled son so trying to find child care when I have operations can be really challenging.”

Emily is one of five patients that have undergone the procedure, which uses local anaesthetic, at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU).

Dr Chris Ball, Consultant Radiologist at PHU.Dr Chris Ball, Consultant Radiologist at PHU.
Dr Chris Ball, Consultant Radiologist at PHU.

Emily added: “The team who looked after me were absolutely amazing. As you are only there for a shorter amount of time, it means you stay on the same ward with the same team and this really helps with feeling comfortable. Since the procedure I have had such fab care. Any issue or concern I had, Dr Ball was there and would get me in to see him or the team if I needed. They have really changed my life and I am so grateful to them.”

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The Thyroid Microwave Ablation team at QA Hospital.The Thyroid Microwave Ablation team at QA Hospital.
The Thyroid Microwave Ablation team at QA Hospital.

Dr Chris Ball, Consultant Radiologist at PHU, has been leading the team, within the interventional radiology service, on the development of this new service.

He said: “We are so pleased with the outcomes we are seeing for patients with our new service. They recover within just three to four hours and can go home the same day. This has a massively positive impact on their experience, wellbeing and overall recovery. For the Trust and our staff, it means we can see more patients, reducing waiting lists for this and other procedures, and provide staff with more specialised skills.”

Interventional Radiology Nurse Renee Coxen added: “It’s an honour to be a part of the team as we are only the second hospital in the country to provide this service that is accessible to all patients that will require them. This new breakthrough is a holistic approach to provide effective and efficient care to our patients.”

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