Urology robot a first for the South West

Friday, 27 March 2009

For most of us, robots are the stuff of science fiction novels - but being operated on by a robot is now a reality for patients at North Bristol Trust’s Bristol Urological Institute (BUI).
The intuitive surgical system - more commonly known as the ‘robot’ - is the only one in the South West, and has already been used to operate on 20 urology patients.
The robot is made up of a console operated by the surgeon, and a patient-side system with four robotic arms that executes the surgeon’s commands. The surgeon operates controls on the console to manage the movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.
Because the robot has greater precision than is possible for a surgeon, it can make smaller incisions - resulting in shorter recovery times, fewer complications, and generally less trauma to the patient.
Bristol Urological Institute’s (BUI) consultant surgeon David Gillatt, who along with surgeons Ed Rowe and Raj Persad has been operating with the robot since last December, said:

“North Bristol Trust boasts one of the top urological institutes in the country, and the robot is the next stage in providing state of the art care for our patients.
“The robot basically mimics the surgeon’s movements, but is more precise - which makes it easier to perform complex surgical manoeuvres through small incisions, eliminating the need for larger, more traumatic incisions.
“Our priority is to minimise trauma to the patient so they can recover and get back to normal activities as soon as possible, and the robot assists with this. Practical benefits for our patients are shorter hospital stays; less pain, risk of infection, blood loss and scarring; and better post-operation sexual and urinary function.
“And because March is prostate awareness month, it’s a perfect time to tell people about this new service,” he said.