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Bristol bowel mesh surgery should not have gone ahead.

Almost half of patients who were given a controversial type of bowel surgery should not have been operated on, a hospital trust has admitted.

North Bristol NHS Trust has told 57 patients at Southmead Hospital in Bristol they should initially have been offered alternative treatment.

The surgeon, Tony Dixon, was suspended in 2017 after concerns were first raised.

Dozens of women have said that they were left in severe pain after pelvic floor surgery using the artificial mesh.

Mr Dixon pioneered the use of artificial mesh to lift prolapsed bowels, a technique known as laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR), and often caused by childbirth.

North Bristol NHS Trust carried out a review after concerns were raised by patients who suffered complications and were left with chronic pain following the procedure.

One patient, Paula Goss, 49, from south Gloucestershire, was told the surgery "would change her life and would make everything better" but said she was now "disabled in many ways because of it.”

The operations began in the early 2000s, although the review investigated only cases from 2007 to 2017.

Mr Dixon performed most of the operations but some were carried out by three other surgeons.

The trust said that although the operations were carried out successfully, the 57 patients were told they "should have been offered alternative treatments before proceeding to surgery.”

A further 73 patients have been told their surgery was appropriate, and investigations into 13 were continuing.

North Bristol NHS Trust medical director, Dr Chris Burton, apologised to patients who received unnecessary surgery.

He said: "It is unacceptable and we are taking it extremely seriously."

He added immediate action was taken to ensure it couldn't happen again. Support had been provided to affected patients.

He added: "We will keep investigating to ensure we have identified patients affected by these issues to find out what happened and learn lessons for future care."

Mr Dixon, who also performed operations at Spire Hospital, Bristol, says he is unable to comment on specific allegations due to patient confidentiality and while relevant investigations are continuing.

He said: "There is a need for caution in comparing the use of mesh in different procedures with very different risks and outcomes."

Spire Healthcare has said it was carrying out a similar review.