A state-of-the-art robot helping health staff transform the way they carry out surgery has reached a new milestone after helping its 100th patient.
The robot at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been used to perform colorectal procedures over the last year.
The Da Vinci robot, controlled remotely by surgeons, improves the accuracy and efficiency of surgery in complex operations – leading to improved outcomes for patients.
Nicola Maguire, colorectal consultant who has performed 25 of the operations using the robot, said: “The robot has transformed the way we work and the outcomes for our patients.
“It allows surgeons to be more accurate, reducing blood loss, operative time and pain after surgery.
“And because patients experience less pain, they can leave hospital and get back to the comfort of their own homes sooner.”
The robot, located in the operating theatres at the University Hospital of North Tees, allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few small incisions with robotic-assisted surgery.
The console adjusts in various way to help surgeons get a good fit for their height and reach and gives them total control of the wristed instrument on each of the four arms, with live images produced in 3DHD.
Nicola added: “The robot – nicknamed Robbie by a grateful patient – also reduces any issues associated with tremors.
“It means we can be as accurate as possible, while seeing everything clearly using a 3D image displayed.
“Now it is established in the operating theatres, the plan is for all colorectal surgeons to be using the robot within the next few months and for all bowel cancer operations to be performed using it over the next one to two years, using a standardised training pathway.
“This will involve wider expansion work of the operating theatres which is also really exciting for staff and for our patients.”
Katy Walsh, 34 and from Stockton, has suffered from acid reflux since she was in her teens, leading to acid in her stomach flowing back into her food pipe.
To help with the issue, Katy had surgery (a Nissen fundoplication) in June to treat the issue using the robot.
Katy, who also works as a theatre support worker in the department, said: “I have had acid reflux for years and it has been so difficult.
“I sometimes just can’t keep food down, it affects all of my life including my quality of sleep.
“When I got told I was able to have surgery using the robot, I already knew the benefits it would bring and wanted to do it.
“It has been life changing for me – I can’t thank Mr Gopinath and the team enough.
“I am now at the stage in my recovery where I can start eating solid food. And I am sleeping so much better too! It really has changed my life for the better.”