Two patients at Wrexham Maelor Hospital have thanked the medical team for performing a first of its kind procedure in Wales.

It has been described as a ‘quick and completely painless’ procedure, using cutting-edge laser to remove bladder tumours or suspicious areas. 

John James, 84, has had re-occurring growths on his bladder for over 15 years and has previously had them removed via a full surgical procedure under general anaesthetic, taking a whole day in the hospital and longer to recover. John was one of the first to have them removed with the laser. 

The procedure used a Trans Urethral Laser Ablation (TULA), an examination of the bladder using a camera on a thin flexible tube that uses a laser for bladder treatment. 

The Leader: Professor Iqbal Shergill and his Urology Unit with John JamesProfessor Iqbal Shergill and his Urology Unit with John James (Image: Kirstie Dolphin)John said: “I’ve had the old surgical procedure before at least four times in the last 15 years, and I would attend from 7am for full anaesthetic, and not be discharged until very late in the day.

"This new laser procedure was absolutely brilliant, I was very impressed, and I always have been, by the Urology Team in Wrexham Maelor Hospital. They are outstanding.  

“I had a fair idea what would happen in the new procedure, but I was amazed how extremely efficient, very quick and completely painless it was. I was astonished really that it was so quick, I was probably only in for 12-15 minutes, and my recovery has been instant. What a remarkable development and innovation! 

“I was able to follow exactly what they were doing during the procedure, it was very much like a teaching session. This has been a big relief, it was a small growth caught early. I’ve had wonderful care from the Urology Team over the years, I have had regular check-ups and I can’t speak highly enough of them.” 

The new laser, which is effectively the size of a Smartphone, was funded via the North Wales NHS charity Awyr Las, and the Health Board's Cancer Services. 

Elizabeth Comer, 82, Wrexham, also has re-occurring growths on her bladder and has previously had them removed under local anaesthetic as she was too concerned to be put to sleep and was one of the first to be offered laser removal.  

Elizabeth said: “Professor Shergill explained to me about the new laser procedure, and I thought well I’ll try it, and it really was absolutely painless.  

“Professor Shergill and the team are marvellous, and I won’t have any nerves about coming in again, it wouldn’t worry me at all.” 

Surgeon Professor Iqbal Shergill, Urology Clinical Lead at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “TULA has been proven to be highly effective in treating early-stage bladder cancer, with minimal side effects, so no pain or discomfort, and a high success rate. 


“Wrexham Maelor Hospital has started to offer this treatment and I believe it will be a valuable addition to the hospital's cancer treatment options.

“I’m happy our patients have had a positive experience with this new procedure and I’d also like to thank our lead nurse for TULA in Urology Kelly Price, Urology Nurse Practitioners, Mandy Giddins and Melody Matondo, who have helped and supported the department throughout, and our hospital management team.” 

Caroline Williams, Health Board's Cancer Network Manager, said: "Cancer Services are delighted to support the introduction of this innovative new treatment approach at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, especially as bladder cancer is the second commonest cancer in urology, and most patients will be followed up regularly for many years.”