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PATIENTS RECALLED IN SURGEON PROBE.

Byline: Alison Dayani

SIXTY breast cancer patients have been given special health checks at a Midland hospital after a top surgeon's procedures were called into question.

The examinations follow concerns raised over mastectomy surgery carried out by Ian Paterson at Solihull Hospital, part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

It is understood that issues raised by a fellow surgeon sparked an investigation at the health unit, which discovered that Mr Paterson was leaving a small amount of breast tissue around the cleavage, for cosmetic reasons, on some patients. Most surgeons follow national guidelines to not leave excess breast tissue, to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

The probe led to 12 women being recalled immediately.

They were offered surgery to have any remaining tissue removed.

And a total of 60 patients, who were operated on by Mr Paterson at Solihull Hospital, are being closely monitored for cancer re-emergence. One of the women has redeveloped breast cancer since surgery.

West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit has been drafted in to review cancer recurrence rates of all Mr Paterson's patients over the past ten years.

They said the recurrence rates were currently in line with the Association of Breast Surgeons recognised rates for mastectomies, which are between three and five per cent.

Lisa Dunn, a Solihull Hospital director, said Mr Paterson was still working at the hospital, but was prevented from carrying out "cleavage sparing mastectomy" from June 2007.

"An external review highlighted that this was not a usual procedure and that Mr Paterson had not followed guidelines to introduce a new technique," said Ms Dunn.

"This Trust's position, after careful consideration, was that the technique was not an approach considered appropriate going forward, and the method was therefore stopped.

"We understand that Mr Paterson was carrying out this procedure in good faith, believing it to be appropriate for his patients, to achieve removal of the cancer, but with a better cosmetic result than a traditional mastectomy.

"We are committed to patient safety and we have completed a careful external review of breast cancer cases.

"Over 60 patients have now been reviewed and we will continue to closely monitor the recurrence rate data and follow-up patients as part of their regular clinical reviews."

Ms Dunn added that an external panel made up of breast surgeons and an oncologist carried out the investigation, reviewing patient case notes.

Following advice from the National Clinical Assessment Service, formal observations of Mr Paterson's mastectomy surgery were also undertaken.

CAPTION(S):

Patients checked: Solihull Hospital and (inset) consultant surgeon Ian Paterson.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 4, 2010
Words:426
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