Letter: Keyhole opens up painless surgery

Sir: Either the media reporting of advances in gallbladder removal ("Keyhole surgery `takes longer and costs more' " 13 April) has missed the point of the study, or the folk at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield are wasting valuable time.

My gallbladder was removed by "keyhole surgery" three years ago. Perhaps my surgeon, Mr William Brough, was particularly brilliant, but within a few hours of the operation I was enjoying a full meal and had not experienced one moment's discomfort. I was back at work two weeks later, and it is now extremely difficult to find the tiny marks left by the three incisions.

Those of my acquaintance who have undergone the traditional "rip-'em- open" style of surgery which involves cutting through abdominal muscle to reach the gallbladder can still vividly recall the post-operative pain and the length of time it took to recover abdominal strength. Not one of those people was back at work in a month.

The good doctors at Sheffield should bear in mind their first duty - to the patient, not the account manager.

Tony Wilkie-Millar

Stockport, Cheshire