Robotic surgery first at Stepping Hill Hospital

Robot surgeron
The robot allows surgeons greater control and accuracy Photo: PA Images

A cancer patient will bethe first in Britainto have his prostate removed using a hand-held robot at a North West hospital.

Stuart Ellis, 52, astructural engineer from Cheadle Hulme, will undergo the revolutionaryoperation at Stepping Hill Hospitalin Stockport.

The device allows thesurgeon to combine the touch and feel of traditional surgery with the greateraccuracy and dexterity of articulating instruments, according to the hospital.

It is said to providegreater flexibility than the human wrist, and also allows more precisestitching for better recovery. The instrument tip moves in multiple directions tooperate in areas that are difficult to approach, giving the surgeon bettermanoeuvrability and less fatigue than when using rigid keyhole surgeryinstruments.

The hospital said it willenable more surgeons to quickly achieve the highest possible standards, notonly in prostate surgery but also gynaecology, urology and gastrointestinalsurgery.

Neil Oakley, the leadingurology surgeon at Stepping Hill, who is undertaking the operation, said:"Our team is very excited about this latest technology and it's an honourto be the first in Britainto carry out a prostatectomy using this device.

"It's the fusion ofmaintaining the feel and touch during an operation with the greater roboticarticulation that makes it so special. This robot can do things not physicallypossibly with a human wrist and gives you the best of both worlds."

Mr Ellis, who was diagnosedwith prostate cancer last month, said: "Being told you've been diagnosedwith cancer is not a pleasant experience, but it's good to know somethingpositive for other people is coming out of this.

"This illness seems tohave affected so many close family and friends, it's great to feel involved inthe fightback, in however small a way. If this means other cancer patients inthe future can get quicker treatment with the most advanced technology, thenI'm proud to be part of it."

The motorised hand-heldsurgical instrument is said to cost around 95% less than current larger robotsused over the last few years to perform laparoscopic or keyhole surgery - eachsaid to cost about £1.8m.

Mr Oakley added: "Thecost is also an extremely important factor and will hopefully mean thatpatients across the country can benefit from this surgical advancement".

The full name of the newdevice is the Kymerax precision-drive articulating surgical system, developedby the Japanese Terumo corporation.