Surgeons join forces for made-to-measure success

Graham Woodhouse
Graham Woodhouse
Surgical aneurysm treatment
Personal private medical insurance policy

Two Birmingham surgeons have joined forces to offer a new procedure to treat life-threatening blood vessel disorders.

Consultant vascular and endovascular surgeons Donald Adam and Martin Claridge are treating patients suffering with complicated aneurysms (a swelling or bulge in the wall of a major blood vessel) with made-to-measure stent-grafts.

The stent-grafts, which go inside the aorta (the body’s main artery), are designed with holes that allow blood to pass into other important arteries. As each individual patient needs the holes in different places the stent-graft has to be custom-designed to exact dimensions. They are then individually produced in Australia at a cost of around £25,000 each.

Business man Graham Woodhouse is living proof that the bespoke stents are worth their weight in gold after undergoing an operation at Birmingham’s BMI Priory Hospital.

Graham recalls “I had developed a very complicated aneurysm which was discovered by chance when I was being checked for something completely unrelated.”

“The bulge was very near to my kidneys and had reached the stage where it could have burst at any time. I met one surgeon who said I would have to be opened up in order for the aneurysm to be treated but I was also warned that the operation could be dangerous.

Mr Woodhouse, who was insured by BUPA, had a CT scan from which Mr Adam drew up his blueprint for the fenestrated stent-graft.

“It was then when I approached Mr Adam and Mr Claridge and they explained that there was another option.”

Mr Woodhouse, who was insured by BUPA, had a CT scan from which Mr Adam drew up his blueprint for the fenestrated stent-graft. This was emailed to Brisbane, Australia, and less than six weeks later the custom-made stent-graft was back in Birmingham and ready to be fitted.

The device, made from thick woven polyester, was inserted through the artery in Mr Woodhouse’s groin and sealed in place in an operation. Mr Adam had studied this particular operation in depth while in Adelaide, Australia, where he worked with Dr John Anderson who pioneered fenestrated stent-grafting.

Within days, 64-year-old Mr Woodhouse was up and about and in less than two weeks he was back at work in the steel industry.

“I’m amazed at how my recovery has gone and the only traces of the operation are two small scars just above the groin. It really has been a life changer for me.” said Mr Woodhouse who added that he has now reduced his alcohol intake and stopped smoking since the operation.

This keyhole approach to treating the complex aneurysm is offered by very few surgeons in the UK. As well as being able to custom-design the stent grafts, surgeons must also possess the skills of both traditional open vascular surgery and endovascular surgery in order to carry out the procedure.

Donald Adam and Martin Claridge, who practise privately at BMI Priory Hospital, have extensive experience providing this treatment and both have undertaken dedicated fellowships in Australia - where the technology has been developed and refined.

“We believe we are unique in providing this service as a team of surgeons and are convinced that our excellent results are in part due to this.” said Mr Claridge.

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