A new gadget that slowly releases anaesthetic through a patient’s gown could be used in UK hospitals to relieve pain after surgery, if a trial in Cornwall proves successful.

The ‘painbuster’ replaces morphine with local anaesthetic and will be tested on 160 women at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, 48 hours after undergoing a mastectomy.

The hospital was given £250,000 by the National Institute of Health Research to carry out the study, reports the BBC.

It is hoped that the gadget, which releases anaesthetic directly to the area where the surgery has been carried out, will reduce the time it takes women to recover from a mastectomy.

Iain Brown, a consultant oncoplastic surgeon at the Royal Cornwall Hospital told the BBC; "We know morphine is not a great thing to have in your system when you’re trying to get over a big operation.

"We want our patients to wake up, sit up in bed, brush their hair and put their make-up on. If they can do that from the beginning it makes them feel great psychologically."

Image: The Royal Cornwall Hospital has received £250,000 in funding to carry out the trial. Photo: Courtesy of Tony Atkin.