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Skipton man is first patient of £2m surgical robot
A prostate cancer patient from Skipton is full of praise for his “assistant” surgeon – a £2 million robot.
Mike Watson, 60, was the first patient to have surgery by the da Vinci robot, an innovative surgical machine which acts as a miniature extension of the surgeon’s hands and fingers.
The operation took place at Bradford Royal Infirmary on July 27 and since then the robot has been used to carry out 23 prostate procedures and three bladder removals.
Mr Watson said: “I was enthusiastic about robot surgery as I had done my research and learnt that the recovery time would be much quicker and that the actual incisions would be so much smaller than conventional surgery.
“I expected to feel really sore, but now, having had the operation, I can honestly say I have felt no pain.”
During the operation, one arm of the robot carries a camera and sends a 3D image of the patient’s insides back to the surgeon. The real-time image is then magnified eight times while the other robotic arms are moved around by the surgeon to perform the operation and can rotate 360 degrees, allowing more precision than human hands.
The robotic arms are steady, manoeuvrable and can iron out any shakes in the surgeon’s movements. Patients recover more quickly than with normal abdominal surgery and are likely to be back at work in two to four weeks, rather than six weeks to three months.
Mr Watson said: “I’ve had what I consider the best and least invasive method available.”
His consultant surgeon, Sanjai Addla, said: “This is definitely the surgery of the future and I envisage a time coming when it will be rare to have an open abdominal operation and just as rare to have conventional keyhole surgery.”
The da Vinci robot was made possible thanks to the support of the Sovereign Health Care Charitable Trust which donated £200,000.
There are plans in place to use the robot for colorectal and maxillo-facial surgery later in the year.