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A team of specialist nurses at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals has won the 2015 Opus Healthcare Research Award jointly with a team from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for their combined project to study patients’ views on an innovative surgical method of reducing or eliminating distressing stoma leakages after gastric surgery.

Reconstructive surgeons at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been using lipomodelling or ‘fat transfer’ in breast cancer patients with great success. During the last year they introduced this technique to stoma patients and especially to those who have a permanent stoma and suffer from leakages due to abnormalities around the stoma. The aim is to refashion the stoma with a minimally invasive approach. The procedure was performed on a small group of patients who reported a decrease in leakages and improvement in their stoma-related quality of life.

Part of the Ashford and St Peter’s research team, Carol Katté said: “The whole team is delighted to have won this award. Stoma leakage is a cause of considerable distress to patients who have already gone through the trauma of gastric surgery. If our research shows that lipomodelling is a real benefit it could lead to the procedure being made more widely available in the NHS.”