A surgeon at a Birmingham hospital has been suspended after a fellow medic claimed that the initials of a doctor's name were burned on to a patient's liver.

According to reports, the letters were branded on the liver of a patient using a beam of argon gas during surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The initials were later spotted during a subsequent operation by a colleague.

Using the gas beam would cause superficial burns but would not cause serious damage, medical experts said. The gas is usually used for sealing blood vessels.

The surgeon under investigation was reported to be very experienced with hundreds of transplants to his name. That raised the possibility of his initials potentially being seared inside the bodies of many former patients.

An investigation has been launched by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. A spokesman said: "Following an allegation of misconduct, [the] trust has suspended a surgeon while an internal investigation is completed."

When asked the identity of the doctor under investigation, the trust refused to comment.