Episode 1 - Open Heart Surgery

Francis Wells performs heart surgery on a patient with a leaky mitral valve, which could cause his heart to fail.

Episode 2 - Awake Brain Surgery

Paul Grundy removes a tumour from Peter Chaisit-Charles' left temporal lobe. Peter is awake throughout the operation.

Episode 3 - Keyhole Stomach Repair

Richard Hardwick repairs a hernia on Susan Hyde's stomach through just five small incisions in her abdomen.

Episode 4 - Pituitary Tumour Removal

Nick Thomas removes a tumour from a patient's pituitary. It has been secreting growth hormones that have caused her lips to swell and could lead to serious heart problems.

Episode 4 - Pituitary Tumour Removal

Christine has a tumour in her pituitary gland, right at the base of her brain. The pituitary gland is the body's hormone control centre and the tumour is causing her body to secrete an excess of growth hormones. Christine's lips have swollen and her shoe size has increased from a size six to a size eight. If the tumour isn’t removed, the muscles in her heart could grow as well, which would choke blood flow and increase the risk of a stroke.

Even though this is brain surgery Christine won't need to have her skull cracked open. Surgeon Nick Thomas uses an endoscope, which he inserts up Susan's right nostril and then pushes it through air pockets in the sinuses towards her pituitary. 

He removes a thin layer of bone and finally peels away a layer of protective tissue to gain access to the pituitary gland. Once he has found the tumour Nick removes as much of it as possible. He doesn't use a normal scalpel, but a surgical aspirator, which breaks down the tumour tissue by sending out ultrasound waves, and then vacuums it away. 

for Channel 4
Distributed by Zodiac Entertainment Distribution