A LIFE-CHANGING operation has been carried out in a UK-first procedure at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
For almost 10 years, Diane Proudlock has suffered from achalasia – a condition which makes it extremely difficult for a person to swallow and hold down food.
As soon as the operation was over I felt like a completely different person, it was a wonderful feelingPatient Diane Proudlock
In the past 18 months she lost more than two stones and regularly brought her food back up.
But Diane, of Sandalwood Close, Clanfield, has made history by being the first patient in the UK to undergo a preoral endoscopic myotomy procedure at QA, in Cosham.
It meant no incisions were made and the retired assistant secretary is now able to swallow and eat most foods.
Previously, the only permanent options for patients who had achalasia was surgery via the patient’s stomach.
Now people from across the country are set to benefit from the pioneering throat surgery at QA.
Mrs Proudlock said: ‘This procedure has changed my life.
‘As soon as the operation was over I felt like a completely different person, it was a wonderful feeling.
‘At times living with the condition was terrifying. It was very difficult to sleep, and meals out could be embarrassing and painful – often I would bring meals straight back up.
‘The difference in my life has been enormous.’
The 68-year-old was operated on by Professor Pradeep Bhandari, consultant physician and gastroenterologist at QA, who was trained in Japan for the procedure.
The condition, which affects around 6,000 people in the UK, means the nerves in the oesophagus do not work and therefore cannot push food down into the stomach.
Eventually the food builds up and gravity forces some into the stomach, but the rest usually comes back up.
Traditionally, incisions would be made to carry out keyhole surgery, but even then surgeons could not access the food pipe properly.
In this new procedure the specialist goes through the mouth to get to the oesophagus.
Professor Bhandari said: ‘The procedure takes up to 90 minutes and patients can eat and drink and go home the following day.
‘It’s very effective and offers a real alternative to radical surgery.
‘We are now getting referrals from all over the country, which is very exciting news for QA.’