Urology robot operates on its 1,000th prostate cancer patient

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Southmead Hospital’s urological robot has carried out its 1,000th operation on a prostate cancer patient.

The Da Vinci robot arrived at Southmead Hospital in 2008 and has since helped saved the lives of hundreds of prostate cancer patients.

The length of stay for prostate cancer patients in hospital has been reduced by more than half thanks to robotic surgery – meaning men are able to recover much quicker and many go home within 24 hours of surgery.

The robot is now being used to carry out revolutionary surgery in other areas of urological cancers like bladder and bowel.

Eric Dedman was the 1,000th prostate cancer patient to be operated on by the Southmead robot.

Mr Dedman, 69, from Devon, has lived with prostate cancer for 14 years during which time he has undergone radiotherapy, monthly testosterone injections to slow its growth and surgery when he was first diagnosed.

He was referred for robotic surgery at Southmead Hospital after his PSA levels began to increase, prompting the decision to remove the cancerous prostate.

He said: “Generally I’m doing well and I was home from hospital the day after surgery on May 14 and I can’t praise the team enough.

“It baffles me how the robot works but it is brilliant, and if this technology was around when I was first diagnosed 14 years ago things could have been very different for me over that time.

“Men need to be more aware of these things, to get themselves checked out and get their PSA levels checked – if you catch cancer early you have the best chance of fighting it.”

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.

David Gillatt, lead urological consultant at Southmead Hospital, said: “Since the robot first arrived at Southmead in 2008 we have been able to dramatically improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer.

“We have also used the robot to operate on other cancer patients – including constructing a new bladder inside a patient - a UK first.

“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 efforts are concentrated on continuing to find the latest technologies and breakthroughs in treating urological cancers.”

Research into the treatment and care of prostate cancer patients is carried out at the Bristol Urological Institute at Southmead Hospital.

On September 8 Run for the Future takes place to raise money for prostate cancer research at the Bristol Urological Institute.

The 5km family-fun run around the Clifton Downs is organised by Bristol Rotary in conjunction with the Bristol Urological Institute.

Organisers of the event hope that some of the 1,000 prostate cancer patients who have had robotic surgery at Southmead can come together at the event to mark the milestone, please contact Run for the Future to be included.

Register for this year’s event here.