Posted on Wednesday 4 November 2015
20151103 Evening Standard Worldwide Robot
Denise's robotic kidney removal was broadcast around the world
Robotic surgeons at Guy’s Hospital invited the world into their operating theatre as they took part in the Worldwide Robotic Surgery 24 Hour Event.
Guy’s was the only hospital in the UK taking part in the event that saw 12 of the world’s leading robotic centres broadcast their pioneering operations from four continents.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ carries out the most robotic operations in the UK – with more than 400 cases a year. The Trust now has two da Vinci surgical robots, after the latest da Vinci Xi robotic console was installed. This will enable surgeons to perform more than 150 additional operations a year.
Denise Parker, 54, from Basildon, fell seriously ill with gall stones on holiday, leading doctors to discover a large tumour on her kidney.
She was referred to Mr Ben Challacombe at Guy’s Hospital to have her kidney removed by robotic surgery as it is less invasive and has a quicker recovery time than conventional open surgery. She was keen to be involved in the worldwide event so other patients could benefit from her experience.
She says: “I’m so grateful for Mr Challacombe’s help, and overwhelmed by the benefits of the surgery that he has offered me. People may not have heard of robotic surgery and might be afraid. I was too, but I trusted Mr Challacombe and if my experience helps others then I will be happy.
“My uncle died of cancer because he didn’t know he had it. I was so lucky that mine was found and that I can have the best possible treatment.”
Denise’s robotic kidney removal was a complete success and she was able to leave hospital just four days later.
Mr Ben Challacombe, consultant urological surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “We are extremely grateful that Denise was so enthusiastic about sharing her experience during the worldwide broadcast.
“Robotic kidney removal has so many benefits. Rather than having to make a very large cut, we are able to remove the kidney through small keyhole incisions. Using the robot is like having your hands inside the patient without cutting them open.”
Surgeons control the robot’s ‘arms’ from a console as they look down microscopes on the end of each arm to see inside the keyhole incisions.
Professor Prokar Dasgupta, Chairman of the Institute of Robotic Surgery at King's College London and honorary consultant urological surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, established the Trust’s robotic surgery programme in 2004. It is now the largest programme in the UK, training two full-time surgical fellows and more than 50 visiting surgeons a year.
He says: “The worldwide event is a great opportunity for experienced surgeons to share knowledge, developments and advancements with people across the world from the comfort of their own operating theatre.
“Taking part in the event allowed us to showcase the benefits of our new da Vinci Xi robot. Having a second robot operating means we can offer more of our cancer patients the best possible surgical care while ensuring that Guy’s and St Thomas’ remains at the forefront of new surgical advances.”