The ENT department in Morriston Hospital has been able to purchase a new state of the art video laryngoscope which will make medical explorations of the throat much safer and quicker.

The funding for the new biopsy flexible video laryngoscope came from funding that Swansea Bay Health Charity was allocated by NHS Charities Together.

Laryngoscopy is a medical exploration of the larynx, a part of the throat. It is used to obtain a view, for example, of the vocal folds and the back of the throat.

Direct laryngoscopy is usually carried out under general anaesthetic as is it extremely uncomfortable, and cannot be used on patients with an active gag reflex. The new equipment eliminates the need for a general anaesthetic, instantly making it safer and quicker.

The new video laryngoscope works under local anaesthetic, which means that only the mouth and nose need to be numbed. Video laryngoscopes are designed to improve visualisation, which leads to quicker procedures, a higher first-attempt success rate, and reduction in procedure-related complications.

Mr Conor Marnane, Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon, says

Mr Conor Marnane, Consultant Head and Neck Surgeon demonstrates the new equipment

“We are very grateful to Swansea Bay Health Charity and NHS Charities Together for providing the funds to enable us to purchase this scope.

“The scope is similar to the ones we already use in clinic for assessing patients but it has the addition of an operating channel, which allows us to take biopsies using a small flexible forceps.”

The speed at which biopsies can now be carried out is a huge bonus for Mr Marnane and his team, as he explains,

“The Covid pandemic has meant that we have lost a lot of operating theatre capacity and patients who require biopsies of their throat or voice box, some of whom may have cancer, were often having to wait a long time for a theatre slot in order to have a biopsy under general anaesthetic.

“This new endoscope allows us to do the biopsies in the outpatient clinic under a local anaesthetic, the whole procedure taking less than 10 minutes to do. This saves a lot of time and inconvenience for both the patients and the doctors.

“It’s also particularly useful for biopsying those patients who would otherwise not be fit for a biopsy under anaesthetic.

“The opportunity to have this scope in the department has very much changed the way we do things for the better, and is one of the more notable positive changes to clinical care that has arisen as consequence of having to adapt to the pressures of the Covid pandemic.”

Debs Longman, Head of Fundraising, said,

“It’s wonderful to see the donations we have received from NHS Charities Together being put to such good use. Not only will this equipment be vital to the efforts to catch up on biopsies missed because of Covid, it will really improve waiting times long term.

“We’re thrilled to have been able to fund something that will make such a huge difference to patients here in Swansea Bay.”

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