The Mersey Regional Burns, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit provides world class care to patients from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, the Isle of Man and increasingly from across the UK.
Our Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons are all members of BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgeons) and BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) and are at the forefront of performing new surgical procedures and often share their expertise with surgeons from around the world.
The Burns and Plastic Surgery team are proud to set the highest standards when it comes to quality indicators and all members of the multi-disciplinary team who work closely together at all times to ensure all our patients receive safe and high quality treatment whilst under our care.
Mersey Regional Burns Centre
The Mersey Burn Centre has a catchment area of 4.5 million people.
The service is housed within the Mersey Regional Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit, with its inpatient facility being at Whiston Hospital, one of the largest units in the UK. The unit's reputation continues to grow, and research and development are moving ahead exponentially. The recent (free) Mersey Burns Smartphone App is the first MHRA approved medical APP in the UK, and is rapidly spreading as the standard tool for the calculation of fluid resuscitation for burns patients (www.merseyburns.com).
The two key outcome determinants for burn care: the LD 50 (the percentage area of burn which is fatal in 50% of individuals in a particular unit) and days per % (hospital stay / time to healing per % of burn) match or better the best in the UK. UK burn standards suggest 2 days hospital stay per % of burn, and Mersey Burn Centre's figures are 1 day.
Mersey Regional Specialist Plastic, Reconstructive & Trauma Surgery Unit
Specialist Skin Cancer Service
We are a Supra Regional Centre for skin cancer management, working closely with dermatology and pathology colleagues across the North West & North Wales region running a weekly specialist skin MDT service. This service includes sentinel lymph node biopsy for patients with melanomas.
Also in keeping with the UK melanoma guidelines, we provide ileo-inguinal dissections for patients with more aggressive disease.
To further improve the skin cancer service offered to our patients we have developed a Mohs service for difficult BCC's thus reducing hospital stay and the number of surgical procedures patients need to have. The Mohs surgery service began in December 2012, this sited on the first floor of St Helens Hospital, establishing the Trust as the Regional Centre for Mohs surgery. The service has gained great interest nationwide, and has encouraged plastic surgeons around the UK to attempt to follow the example set by our Trust.
There are a number of approaches we have used to improve the quality of patient care delivered to our patients. Pertaining to the skin cancer service, we have strived to reduce the inpatient stay for patients requiring groin and axillary dissections by developing an outreach service. Dissection involves the removal of the lymph nodes within a particular area. This is a life changing prognosis for patients. Once a dissection is performed it is then necessary for a drain to be put into place. Prior to the development of the outreach service patients would be in hospital for between 7- 14 days, depending on the amount of drainage. Patients were also anxious after surgery waiting for results and wanted to be at home. Therefore, developing the role of a Dissection Outreach Nurse has enabled patients to return home sooner yet still have access to the Specialist Plastic Surgery service. Hospital stay is now typically 3 to 4 days, improving the quality of care for our patients. These patients may have a poor prognosis therefore quality time with their family is of paramount importance.
In addition, we have an electrochemotherapy service for treating advance skin cancers to improve the quality of life for palliative patients.
Breast Cancer Reconstruction Service
We are the only hospital in Merseyside that can offer a full spectrum of breast reconstruction procedures. The Plastic Surgery Breast Team continues to see an increase in referrals for free DIEP flap breast reconstruction for both immediate reconstruction and delayed reconstruction post mastectomy from across all areas of the UK. Due to the efficiency of our surgeons and the advanced techniques used can continue developing this service to allow us to increase our capacity.
We are the only Trust in the North West that offers the free buttock flap reconstruction as an alternative to the DIEP flap. The Plastic Surgery Department also offers muscle sparing latissimus dorsi flap for breast reconstruction, allowing for enhanced shoulder function and faster recovery with reduced complications. We were also one of the first trusts in the country to train a breast reconstruction care nurse.
Regionally and nationally renowned for their expertise in supporting patients with breast cancer, our breast reconstruction team's high level of expertise is such that they work at satellite clinics throughout the North West and North Wales with breast cancer surgeons from other hospitals.
We were one of the first trusts in the country to train a breast reconstruction care nurse. Our Breast Reconstruction Nurse Specialists are an integral part of the unit's multi-disciplinary team (MDT), who care for patients throughout their treatment, pre operatively and post operatively.
The nurse led clinics are held at both Whiston and St Helens hospitals. The nursing team can be contacted on 0151 430 2235. An answerphone is in operation Monday – Friday, so if the team are in clinic please leave a message and they will return your call within 24 hours.
We are the only hospital in Merseyside that can offer the full spectrum of breast reconstruction - click here for more information.
The hand surgery service combines a highly skilled multidisciplinary team of specialist surgeons, nurses and therapists who provide clinical care from the point of referral through to surgery and follow-up following discharge. The unit accepts patients for investigation and treatment of all types of elective and trauma hand problems.
Lower Limb Reconstruction
Our lower limb reconstruction work has increased over the past year and our unit continues to provide free flap lower limb reconstruction for severe trauma thus preventing amputations. Our well established the Merseyside Orthoplastic Group meets on a regular basis which assists us in improving the management of lower limb trauma in line with national standards.
Burns and Plastic Dressing Clinic
The Burns and Plastic Dressing Clinic based on the 3rd floor at Whiston Hospital provides expert dressing and wound care to all patients who have undergone either burn surgery, plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery. Our dedicated nursing team ensure expert timely follow up so that patients do not have to stay in hospital any longer than necessary. Our expert clinics are very varied and are led by Consultants and Nurses to support.
• Physio and Occupational Therapy Clinics
• Skin Cancer Clinics
• Hand Clinics
Plastic Surgery Trauma Unit
The Trauma Unit based on Ward 3A at Whiston Hospital is a 7 day service, open 8am to 4pm. Patients who attend the Trauma Unit do so with varying injuries including: hand injuries, facial injuries, head/scalp lacerations, leg lacerations, human and dog bites, hand infections and more. These patients are referred to us from all accident and emergency departments from across the Northwest, North Wales and the Isle of Man.
Patients attend the Trauma Unit to be assessed by the Plastics Team, and a plan is made for them as to whether they need any kind of operation, or if they are to be managed conservatively. If surgery is necessary patients are added onto a waiting list with other patients. The list is based on clinical priority.
We have developed our networking links with accident and emergency departments to further improve our service to patients. Patient information leaflets for all patients that are referred to our Trauma Unit are available. This leaflet aims to provide patients with more knowledge of what to expect before they arrive with us, and contain contact numbers should they need to get in touch before they arrive at the hospital. Click here for the link to this leaflet
The Prosthetics Department
"Innovation" is defined as "introducing something new". The Prosthetic Department at Whiston Hospital fulfill this definition with every patient they treat. The work carried out within the department is non-prescriptive, requiring open minded planning and manufacturing processes to provide our patients with unique solutions to individual conditions. Further innovations are developed beyond the area of direct patient care. The prosthetic team have constantly delivered a range of bespoke models and interventions providing NHS staff with tangible methods to deliver or teach the specialised care needed for our patients.
Scarring following burn injury can be more devastating than the actual burn itself, however, with the teams early intervention and skills, this scarring is kept to a minimum and produces some excellent end results. As a direct result of this they are in the process of manufacturing a series of devices not only to assess scarring but also to teach staff to identify scars at different stages and go on to deliver the best possible treatment modalities.
Helping mothers breastfeed their babies is an important part in the role of the breastfeeding team at Whiston. One of the issues they face is the parent's anxiety over whether the new infant is being fed adequate amounts of breast milk and resorting to formula. The prosthetic team have developed a model to demonstrate the size of the baby's stomach both at day one and seven days after birth. This allows the breastfeeding team to explain to parents with visual models the importance of breast milk in the first few days of life.
The prosthetic team are committed to sharing these innovations by developing partnerships throughout the health service. The department has now doubled its patient caseload since taking over the activity of Aintree University Hospitals Maxillofacial Laboratory. This work will involve all aspects of maxillofacial and craniofacial surgery planning and complex facial prosthetics.
Burn & Plastic Surgery Laser Service
Our state of the art laser facility at Whiston Hospital is one of the best NHS facilities in the UK. Our laser unit houses four top of the range machines, services offered include scar treatment which are undertaken routinely both for burns patients and those patients with a variety of other problems from acne to post-traumatic or post-surgical scarring. Vascular anomalies and hirsuitism are also treated with these lasers. Referrals for the treatment of scars are received from across the UK.
These lasers also give us the vehicle to expand our research, provide us with development opportunities and give us the ability to offer training in laser treatmentsGo back to the top