Surgeons at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge undertake some of the most complex operations in the country –– and at 9pm on BBC Two on Wednesday (8 Feb) this includes high-risk surgery on a teenager, following treatment for testicular cancer.
In this fourth episode of ‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’, we’ll meet 19-year-old Jamie who discovered he had cancer eight months ago and had to have a testicle removed.
But his ordeal didn’t end there, as doctors discovered that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. This is part of the body’s immune system and crucial for fighting infection.
Jamie has had multiple courses of chemotherapy. But now scans have shown that he still has a large lymph node mass. There is no way for doctors to know if it is still cancerous, so the only option now is major surgery to remove it.
It’s a risky and complex procedure as the swollen lymph node is stuck to part of his small bowel and a major blood vessel. Damaging either could cause life-threatening complications.
Jamie is being operated on by leading urology consultants, Jim Armitage and Tony Riddick, who have been working closely for more than 10 years. The pair will remove the mass from deep within Jamie’s abdomen, one of their most challenging procedures.
Also this episode, we’ll meet 40-year old Sam who was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis as a child –– an incurable genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow from nerves around the body.
Sam has had numerous tumours removed in operations over the years, but now he faces his toughest challenge yet.
The father of three has two tumours growing in his neck, including one growing within the spinal canal, dangerously close to the spinal cord. And if these aren’t removed, they could cause paralysis.
Neurosurgeons treat people with disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord and the nerves around the body. Sam is being treated by leading neurosurgeon Riki Trivedi, one of only a handful of in the country who operates on patients with nerve tumours all around the body.
This operation is the most high-risk procedure Sam has ever had. The tiniest mistake this close to the spinal cord, means Sam could be permanently paralysed.
Riki’s skills are so specialist that he’s involved in training the next generation of surgeons, and he’ll be assisted in theatre by neurosurgical fellow Samir Matloob.
The 'Surgeons: At the Edge of Life' series showcases some of the ground-breaking work undertaken by surgeons here at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Tune in to next week’s episode, produced by Dragonfly Film & TV (a Banijay UK company), and follow Sam and Jamie’s stories.