The future of surgery: Guy’s and St Thomas’ give robotics masterclass
Thursday 30 November 2023
- Trust performs first live case with Hugo robot in the UK
- Surgery live streamed so clinicians can virtually ‘scrub in’
- Experts showcase skills in urology, colorectal, and head and neck
Surgeons at Guy’s and St Thomas’ opened their operating theatre to health professionals from across the country when they beamed live surgical cases to a prestigious conference.
The Trust was chosen to broadcast its pioneering robotic assisted operations to the Future Surgery event, which took place at ExCeL London from Tuesday 14 to Wednesday 15 November. The live surgery was carried out on Wednesday 15 November.
Ben Challacombe, clinical lead for robotic surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, led the UK’s first ever live broadcast of a case with the Hugo robotic-assisted surgery system from Medtronic. The patient, a 73-year-old retired GP, had his prostate removed after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The father of three said: “I didn’t have any symptoms at all but my wife and children nagged me to have my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) levels checked and I found out it was raised. Once the diagnosis was confirmed I didn’t have any doubt that surgery was what I wanted.
“I was asked if I’d mind my surgery being used as a teaching aid and live broadcast and I said ‘No problem at all.’ I’m a medic and I know that people have got to learn!”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ broadcast two other operations, performed with the da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive. Asit Arora, ENT robotic head and neck consultant surgeon, used da Vinci to operate through a patient’s mouth. This less invasive approach, known as transoral robotic surgery (TORS), was used to remove a lump of suspicious tissue from a patient’s throat.
Katie Adams, colorectal surgeon, specialising in inflammatory bowel disease, presented an “as live” case to demonstrate the training required to perform robotic colorectal surgery.
The surgery was live streamed via Proximie – a technology platform that allows clinicians to virtually ‘scrub in’ to any operating room from anywhere in the world.
Ben Challacombe, clinical lead for robotic surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “It is a huge honour for our surgical teams to be invited to share our expertise with colleagues from across the country.
“Robotic surgery has several benefits for patients over both standard keyhole and open surgery, including less time in hospital, faster recovery times and less pain. We can make smaller incisions, avoiding larger cuts and more scarring.
“When we use the robots, we effectively have our hands inside the patient without open surgery.”
During a robotic procedure, surgeons control the robot’s ‘arms’ from a console where they have a 3D HD view while they operate. The hi-tech surgical instruments and a state-of-the-art camera are inserted through tiny incisions in the body.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ have the largest robotic surgery programme in the country with seven robots operating across six specialties.
Last updated: December 2023