Prostate cancer patients are finding major benefits from a new anaesthetic technique being trialled at Sydney Adventist Hospital.
New South Wales’ largest private hospital, known as the San, has introduced the use of local anaesthetic as a replacement for general anaesthetic – previously the standard in routine 25-minute prostate biopsies.
It is one of the few healthcare facilities in Australia to offer this option, which numbs a small part of the body and allows the patient to stay fully conscious.
Urologist Professor Henry Woo said a group of patients had taken part in a study at the San Prostate Centre of Excellence aimed at discovering if local anaesthetic provided satisfactory pain relief and if the broader use of the approach could be justified.
“When we first started performing the infection-free technique of transperineal prostate biopsy, they all had to be done under a general anaesthetic,” Professor Woo said.
“Now that a technique for performing these procedures with a local anaesthetic has been developed, this is a logical step to improving the patient journey.
“General anaesthetic requires more preparation and requires patients to be accompanied by someone following the procedure, as well as spending most of the day in the hospital setting and having to take more time off from work or other activities of daily living.”
Dr Hadia Khanani, a research fellow at the centre who is analysing the data, said 69 of the 70 study patients indicated they would choose localised anaesthetic over general if they had to undergo the procedure again.
“Patients in our study found it significantly easier to just have a local anaesthetic. They could get up immediately after the procedure, drive themselves home, and eat and drink normally straight away,” she said.
“Our data also showed a reduction in patient anxiety – given that general anaesthetic is associated with bigger surgery. The significantly less time spent in hospital and outstanding pain scores also led to greater overall satisfaction with the approach.”
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