AN OXFORDSHIRE woman has become the first person in the UK to undergo a 'life-changing' operation.

Angela Willcox, from Bicester, had both adrenal glands removed at the same time in a surgery at Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).

The operation was performed by Churchill Hospital-based surgeon consultants Radu Mihai and Shad Khan in May.

Removing both adrenal glands, which are small structures attached to the top of each kidney that produce a variety of hormones, is very difficult as it requires both surgeons to be able to perform it.

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Due to its complexity only a handful of surgeons in the country can do it, and OUH, which also runs the Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Banbury's Horton General, is the only trust which has two surgeons capable of the procedure.

It is quicker and healthier for the patient and avoids the need for two separate operations or one very long procedure.

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While it has been performed in some European countries and in the US, it has never been done in the UK.

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Dr Khan, also an OUH Governor, said: “I was delighted to be part of a UK first operation. Oxford has always been highly regarded in terms of endocrine surgery, and I am honoured to be part of the team."

Ms Willcox has an advanced neuroendocrine tumour which had spread to her liver and was producing vast amounts of hormones.

She needed a safe and efficient operation to remove her adrenal glands which the hormones were targeting.

The operation, carried out in May, was successful she was discharged just a few days later.

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Ms Willcox said it had 'changed her life', explaining: "Before the operation I was very weak and tired. My hormone levels very high and it made me feel dreadful. My hands were swollen and my face had become very round and puffy.

“However, following the operation I now have so much more energy. I was able to get up and around and walk around the house and garden – I have much more stamina."

In Ms Willcox's case the operation has provided palliative care but, depending on the patient, the operation has the potential to cure other conditions.