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Patients benefiting from Robotic Assisted Surgery

surgical robot DMH cropped

Following significant investment in its surgical services in recent years, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has further invested £2.5 million in a Da Vinci Robot which assists surgeons to perform operations using the very smallest incisions.

This means that patients will benefit from the most cutting-edge technology available - robotic-assisted surgery.

Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Lead Clinician, Khalid Osman, explains: "Traditionally, many surgeries involve an incision that enables the surgeon to see the area they are operating on and depending on the nature of the procedure, this can be quite a large incision.

"Robotic assisted surgery enables the surgeon, working from a control centre next to the operating table, to control the very fine robotic arms to make tiny incisions - usually of around 1-2 centimetres, to insert tiny surgical tools - all guided by the surgeon.

"There are enormous benefits to patients from this technique, in particular, smaller incisions mean shorter recovery time for most patients - which can include a shorter stay in hospital. There is also less potential blood loss, pain and scarring at the surgical site and a reduced risk of infection. It also means that in most cases patients return to their normal activity more quickly.

"The technology uses 3D vision and this and the magnification the camera gives means we have a much clearer view than with the naked eye alone. The very small robotic tools give us a very high level of precision which means we are able to perform manoeuvres that have not been possible previously. This will potentially enable us to help some patients for whom traditional laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery was not previously possible.

"More than ten million surgical procedures have already been completed worldwide using Da Vinci Robots meaning there is already a great deal of evidence of the benefits and its safety.

"Along with a number of colleagues, I have undergone extensive training in using the robotic techniques and other surgeons will receive training in the coming months and years.

"We are already highly skilled surgeons and this is just the latest, albeit revolutionary and very exciting, tool available to us, enabling us to give patients the safest, most compassionate and joined-up care.

"Initially, robotic assisted surgery will be used by the Trust's colorectal, upper gastro-intestinal, gynaecology, bariatric and ear, nose and throat surgeons."

Although the robot is based at Darlington Memorial Hospital any patient who could clinically benefit from it, could be offered robotic surgery and the Trust is working towards introducing a robot at University Hospital of North Durham in the future.

Associate Director of Operations for the Surgery Care Group, Felicity White, added: "We are delighted to continue offering the very latest medical innovations and I know our surgeons are very excited about the benefits of this for our patients. We are working to bring a second robot to University Hospital of North Durham in the near future.

"I am very proud that the whole surgical team including surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre staff and other clinical and non-clinical colleagues play a part in bringing the very latest surgical advancements to the Trust."

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital