Pictured: Jean Slater and Christina Cameron from the Friends of Raigmore.
Colorectal patients at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness will soon be benefitting from an innovative technique used to treat anal fistulas thanks to a donation from the Friends of Raigmore.
An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the end of the large bowel and skin near the back-passage.
They can cause chronic debilitating symptoms of pain or discomfort, ongoing infection, discharge of fluid and skin irritation leaving patients with a reduced quality of life.
Traditionally the treatment for patients could include the placement of a plastic drain (Seton) or surgery which itself can lead to problems including faecal incontinence.
Now, thanks to the Friends, suitable patients at Raigmore can be treated using Video-assisted anal fistula treatment (VAAFT).
This innovative technique allows a surgeon to treat the fistula using a tiny video camera (endoscope) without having to divide the anal sphincter muscles.
Not only offering a cure but also reduces the risk of faecal incontinence.
The new kit can also be used to treat pilonidal sinus disease.
Mr Raymond Oliphant, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon for NHS Highland, said:
“VAAFT surgery is less invasive and can be performed as a day case procedure for the majority of our patients.
“Without the Friends of Raigmore we would not have this piece of kit.
“I really can’t thank them enough. This will make such a difference to our patients.”
Christina Cameron, Chair of the Friends of Raigmore, said:
“We’re so pleased to have been able to hand this over and to hear about how it will benefit the department and patients in Highland.
“We are an entirely voluntary group and without our team of dedicated volunteers we would not have reached this wonderful target.
“Apart from our public liability insurance, every penny raised in our Raigmore Hospital shop goes towards our fundraising and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this project, by either donating or purchasing from the shop.
“As a group, we’ve had so much backing which allows us to support the hospital in ways which benefit patients.”
The Friends of Raigmore are always looking for new volunteers.
Anyone who is interested should contact them on 01463 705155.