PATIENTS with small bladder cancer tumours in Somerset can now be treated with a portable hand-held laser device and go home on the same day as their operation.

It’s the latest in a series of day case procedures being offered to patients by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, to improve their experience and free up beds for those who need a longer stay in hospital.

People with these types of small tumours have traditionally needed to have surgery under general anaesthetic, but the laser procedure allows Urology consultants to provide treatment in a far less invasive way.

The procedure – called Trans Urethral Laser Ablation, or TULA for short, was first introduced at Yeovil Hospital last year and is now established at Musgrove Park Hospital too.

Dr Sanjit Das, laser treatment lead and urology consultant at Yeovil Hospital, said: “The TULA device is already making a huge difference to both the experience and recovery after surgery for our patients.

“It reduces the time a patient has to wait to be seen, as if the doctor detects a reoccurrence in a bladder tumour at their regular surveillance cystoscopy appointment, a biopsy will be taken there and then.

“If a tumour is detected, then the laser is used to completely remove any abnormal tissue and stop any bleeding. The laser fibre is extremely thin, and the procedure takes between 10 and 20 minutes.

“Following the treatment, patients will receive a single dose of antibiotics and be sent home the same day – a significant change from the previous arrangement.

“It also means the patient doesn’t need to come back at a later date for a general anaesthetic and hospital stay, which would understandably cause them to become anxious.

“And patients don’t need any special preparation before coming in for this laser treatment as an outpatient – they can eat and drink as normal on the day.”