A MEDICAL scanner that will help improve the lives of neck and cancer patients has been presented to Poole Hospital.

The 3D Planner, worth £17,000, includes innovative software that can be used to help plan reconstructive surgery.

Poole-based charity About Face raised the money for the three dimensional scanner following a year of fundraising.

It works by using minute measurements taken during a CT scan, then applying these in three dimensions, helping prosthetic technicians and maxillofacial surgeons plan highly detailed surgery, such as bone grafts.

Jane Boyle, of About Face, said: "The 3D Planner also allows patients to see a 3D image of their finished reconstruction prior to surgery.

"Unsurprisingly, visitors to the About Face Centre - and our volunteers, many of whom have suffered head or neck cancers themselves - tell us that facial reconstruction is a life-changing experience.

"We hope this new technology will play a role in reassuring patients that a positive outcome is a real possibility, taking away some of the fear that is part and parcel or any major procedure but particularly a facial operation.

"It will also bring shorter surgery times and better results - so good news for patients and a cash-stretched NHS."

Both the scanner and the software it uses fall outside of NHS budgets, so were beyond the financial reaches of Poole Hospital

About Face, which is based opposite the hospital on Longfleet Road, offers comfort, support and practical advice to patients experiencing, or having experienced, head and neck cancer.

The charity, which only employs one paid member of staff, has more than 30 regular volunteers.

It was established with the help of Professor Ilankovan who leads the Maxillofacial surgery team at Poole Hospital.

Ms Boyle said: "We were so excited to reach our fundraising target in 2017 and it was a great moment when we were finally able to hand over this amazing bit of equipment to the Maxillofacial team.

"We've had so much help from our volunteers and so many generous donations from benefactors all over the county (and beyond). Huge thanks to everyone who helped us in any way - however big or small - during 2017.

"Everyone at About Face is so grateful."

The About Face Centre is open, 9am-5pm, daily, for drop-in or prearranged visits.