The first patient to receive surgery using Kingston Hospital’s new state-of-the-art, surgical robot is back at home, following his recent successful procedure on Friday 26 April.

John, a 46-year-old copywriter from Twickenham, who had a radical nephrectomy, a procedure which involves removing a whole kidney usually due to kidney disease or cancer, said:

I overheard one of the Night Nurses saying to a colleague: ‘Wow he looks amazing.’ So, if in a matter of hours of the operation I’m looking better than anyone they’ve seen before – that shows how much of an advance robotic surgery is. I also know it can often be a three day stay, but I was let out after a day. It’s been a few days now and I can leave the house for short periods of time, like now I’m outside a café, which might not have been possible with a different procedure.”  

Following investigations, John had his kidney removed due to a suspicious cyst – highly likely to be cancerous.

The use of surgical robotics promises to enable more accuracy and control during procedures, with patient benefits including less invasive surgery with less post operative complications, faster recovery times and shorter stays in hospitals.

The robot, named Leo, by a staff competition, was purchased thanks to the generosity of local resident and philanthropist Dame Marit Mohn.

The da Vinci XI robot is made up of three parts: the patient cart (robot) which houses the camera and four instrument arms that the surgeon uses to perform surgery; the surgeon console which the surgeon sits at to control the instruments, while viewing the patient’s anatomy on a highly magnified high-definition (HD) 3D screen; and the vision cart or hub which includes a large HD screen that shows a live feed of the surgical procedure to everyone in theatre.

Chief of Surgery and Planned Care at Kingston Hospital Mr Sarb Sandhu said:

“The role of philanthropy is once again demonstrating its importance in helping ensure our patients can access gold standard services at their local hospital. As a urologist, I have seen the impact introducing a Holmium laser has had on our patients requiring surgery for enlarged prostate glands. It’s very exciting to see the benefits surgical robotics will bring for our patients now and in the years to come.

“As Chief of Surgery, acquiring a surgical robot means Kingston Hospital is now better placed to attract talented surgeons and theatre staff who have been trained to use this cutting-edge technology. We are enormously grateful to Dame Marit for her generosity in enabling us to acquire a da Vinci XI surgical robot.”

A further three lists of robotic procedures are planned for May. Gynaecology patients requiring surgery are expected to start being treated from July, followed by colorectal patients from around October this year.

The arrival of the robot is a key element of Kingston Hospital’s clinical strategy and enables it to join the 30% of NHS trusts nationally, who already have one. Robotic-assisted surgery can also help to increase surgical productivity. Kingston Hospital has an impressive main theatre utilisations figure of nearly 100%, and the da Vinci Xi will help to treat more patients with a shorter length of stay in hospital.