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William watches live operations

The Duke of Cambridge has hailed the "incredible" work of two surgical teams as he watched live operations at one of the world's leading cancer-specialist hospitals.

William visited the Royal Marsden in Chelsea, west London, where he viewed sections of a breast reconstruction procedure and the removal of a bladder tumour involving two patients.

He was following in the footsteps of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, after she watched a heart operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex in 1996.

The Duke witnessed the operations in the hospital's Wolfson Surgical Suite where he was introduced to the operating teams led by surgeons, Mr Stuart James and Mr Pardeep Kumar.

Dressed in medical scrubs, he spent around 10 minutes viewing a breast reconstruction procedure for a female patient in her 60s.

As he was greeted by lead surgeon, Mr James, William said: "It's slightly surreal meeting you in this situation."

The Duke looked into a micro-vascular microscope placed above the body as he was talked through the surgical procedure, which usually takes six to eight hours to complete.

"That's amazing," he said as he peered through the microscope. "That's incredible. Is this fairly major surgery?"

"Think of it as long rather than major," Mr James replied.

The Duke donned a face mask as he moved into a second operating theatre to view surgery to remove a bladder tumour for a male patient in his 80s.

"There's space for you on this side," Mr Kumar, the lead surgeon, said.

"Thank you, perfect," the Duke replied.

As Mr Kumar explained the procedure, William asked: "That's the whole bladder you've got there? Are you searching for any other signs?"

William is the first royal to view surgery at the Royal Marsden, which is a world-leading cancer centre specialising in all areas of diagnosis, treatment, care and research into the disease.

He has been president of the hospital trust since 2007, a position previously held by Diana from 1989 until her death in 1997.

The Wolfson Surgical Suite was reopened in 2010 following an extensive rebuilding and refurbishment programme after a fire in 2008 devastated the theatre area.

During his visit, the Duke watched a demonstration of the latest radiotherapy technology, CyberKnife, which allows larger doses of the treatment to be delivered because of its improved accuracy and means patients require fewer hospital visits.

The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge previously opened the trust's cancer unit for children and young people at its hospital in Sutton, south London, in 2011.

Consultant urological surgeon Mr Kumar praised William's understanding of the work of his team.

"He really had an insight into the kind of work we do," Mr Kumar said.

"He really understood. The questions he asked were really on the money and were very insightful.

"For want of a better word, he did enjoy himself.

"The Royal Marsden offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of bladder reconstruction surgeries in the country.

"The Duke was fascinated by the procedure and the intricacies of the surgery and it was a privilege to talk him through the surgery and its benefits."

Consultant plastic surgeon Mr James, 43, said the royal visit had not been a distraction during the procedure.

"The priority is looking after the patient," he said.

"This sort of operation is slow, meticulous and very careful.

"A certain amount of work was done before the Duke's arrival."

A spokeswoman for the Royal Marsden confirmed that both operations had gone well and continued after the Duke's departure.

Speaking at a private dinner in aid of the Royal Marsden at Kensington Palace tonight, the Duke said: "I had a chance to visit the Chelsea hospital this afternoon to see for myself the surgical teams undertaking a surgical reconstruction and the removal of a tumour.

"The precision of these techniques means that patients have a fast recovery and the best possible outcomes.

"Day in, day out, people's lives are lengthened and improved immensely by the work of these surgeons.

"As anyone who has witnessed the destructiveness of cancer first-hand will testify, the hope and the healing that these medics provide aids not just the sufferer but it impacts families, friends and whole communities."


From Belfast Telegraph