PATIENTS who would usually spend a week in hospital after bowel surgery are now well enough to go home after just two days, thanks to the latest treatment options at Trafford General Hospital.

A combination of keyhole bowel surgery and a system known as ‘enhanced recovery’ have significantly reduced the length of time patients need to spend in hospital.

Keyhole bowel surgery is much less invasive than the conventional option and has been available at Trafford General since October.

Instead of making one large cut down the abdomen, the surgeon makes a few small incisions and operates with the use of a camera to see inside the patient’s body.

It means patients recover more quickly than from open surgery. Combining keyhole surgery with a treatment regime known as enhanced recovery means patients who would usually spend well over a week in hospital can be well enough to go home in just two days.

Heather Percival, 78, from Flixton, was one of the first patients to have keyhole bowel surgery at Trafford General and said: “I knew it was quite a new procedure in Trafford but that it’s less invasive than open surgery so most people recover more quickly.

“By 9.30pm on the night of my operation, I was able to sit up with some help and have a cup of tea and some toast and I was well enough to go home within just two days. The only pain I had was a little soreness around the keyhole.”

Consultant colorectal surgeon Mrs Chris Craig performs the keyhole bowel procedure at Trafford General and said: “Uncomplicated bowel resections, whether benign or malignant, can be performed by keyhole surgery, enabling patients to recover more quickly and experience less physical trauma.

“With enhanced recovery, patients can also start eating and drinking again immediately after surgery and they are able to start moving around within about two hours, thanks to a different form of pain relief. After they leave hospital, we telephone them every day so they know what to do if they experience any problems and they can come in to see us so we can check out any concerns they have and make sure they are recovering well.”

Mrs Craig joined Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust in May 2011 from Rotherham, where she had a clinical fellowship in keyhole surgery. The enhanced recovery system is used for all colorectal surgery and hip and knee replacements at Trafford General.