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Robot surgeons conduct first operation at NHS trust on Hornchurch woman

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 December 2017

Surgeons by the da vinci robot at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

Surgeons by the da vinci robot at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

Barts Health NHS Trust

Robot surgeons have been welcomed by an NHS trust, treating patients for issues with the heart, lungs and chest, paving the way for a new robotics centre.

Seven departments at The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s hospitals will now be operating on patients using da vinci robots, thanks to £5.5m funding from Barts Charity.

Chrissie Lefranc, 68, from Hornchurch, was the first patient at St Bartholomew’s Hospital to be treated by robot surgeons, when she had a cyst removed from her left lung at the end of last month.

She said: “The team at St Bartholomew’s have been wonderful, I’m so grateful to them and the robot.

“The cyst could have turned cancerous or leaked putting my life in danger - I was literally living with a time bomb.

“It’s such a relief to not worry.

“I’m breathing better and deeper and will even be able to re-join my choir just in time for Christmas.”

Surgeons have welcomed the greater flexibility and control provided by the da vinci robot through its ability to rotate its arms 360 degrees in seven dimensions, setting it apart from human surgeons.

Using a computer console situated beside the patient, surgeons operate by moving the robot’s “arms” which hold surgical instruments.

The surgeon remains in control of the robot at all times using their hands and feet at the console, while a member of the surgical team stays at the patient’s side observing the surgery.

The hospital’s da vinci robot is the only device in the UK dedicated to treating the heart, lungs and chest.

Teams at The Royal London Hospital aim to use its da vinci robot on 500 patients across each year by 2020 across six specialities including transplant and head and neck surgery.

Aiming to use the robot in 40pc of the 1500 operations performed each year, the robot is the first step towards an ambitious robotics centre being built at the hospital.

Chief executive at Barts Charity Fiona Miller-Smith said: “I’m delighted that Barts Charity has brought surgical robots to The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals.

“This extraordinary technology will benefit hundreds of patients and embodies our ongoing commitment to funding innovation.”

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