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PLANETS Charity’s initial aim was to raise £50,000 for a new mobile ultrasound machine and tumour ablation equipment.  This was achieved and at the end of 2012 the machine was purchased.

The ultrasound machine/scanner was purchased for radiological interventions, ablations and theatre use. Overall it gives the consultants the ability to treat the whole disease area at one time in a much more effective way, which is fairly specific and bespoke for pancreatic and liver patients.

The older scanners that are used have a much lower resolution and so buying this top end scanner has enabled Brian Stedman, Neil Pearce and the PLANETS medical team the extra technology to have the ability to see much more small disease. This gives the consultants more confidence that small elements of disease have not been missed.

The scanner has also allowed us to do other things that we were unable to do before, such as inject contrast solution whilst using the scanner enabling the consultants to watch the blood flow at the time of treatment, which can be vital.  It can also be used in theatre during operations to assist the surgical team in seeing that the blood flow is good in the areas that they are working on.  The surgeon can achieve an immediate live picture of what’s happening which provides them an extra reassurance before finishing the procedure and taking the patient out of the theatre.

The state of the art scanner is small and very mobile and staff have already commented on the ergonomics being so much better than the previous machine as well as easier to use making interventions a much more pleasurable job.

Although UHS have 10 ultrasound machines already, with this specific, bespoke scanner we are ensuring that the patient gets the best service possible and so this development, as a result of PLANETS fundraising, will ultimately will make a difference to many patients, specific to PLANETS area of expertise and otherwise.

Other recent notable achievements are:

  • New comfortable chairs in outpatients – E & F Level
  • Radio-Isotope therapy ‘shielded box, isotope delivery system’.
  • Ward E8 bathrooms refit (including mirrors and sink enabling patients to easily wash their hair) to make a stay more comfortable
  • Slave Screen options in theatre 7 are being trialled
  • Employment of a full-time lab based researcher for preliminary analysis into genetic sequencing (relating to the tumour bank)
  • Collaboration with Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund into genetic sequencing.

In 2016 PLANETS announced that the bid by the Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth teams to become an ENETS accredited European centre of excellence was successful making the ‘Wessex NET Group’ one of 25 centres across the whole of Europe who have achieved this level of recognition.  Also, PLANETS were also able to bring IOERT to University Hospital Southampton and the testing phase began.

In 2017, a Southampton bowel cancer patient became the first in the UK to receive radiotherapy during surgery using the IOERT machine that PLANETS has funded.  Since then, numerous pancreatic and colorectal patients have benefited from this treatment, and most recently, in 2019, we treated our first head and neck cancer patient.

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