QA Hospital surgeons ‘push the boundaries’ by being first to use Da Vinci robot for complicated operation 

Consultant surgeon Jim Khan with the Da Vinci robot. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Consultant surgeon Jim Khan with the Da Vinci robot. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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PIONEERING surgery has been carried out by doctors in Portsmouth using the Da Vinci robot.

The life-saving surgical equipment at Queen Alexandra Hospital has recently been upgraded meaning it can carry out more procedures on patients with cancer.

One of those procedures is a Total Pelvic Exenteration – a serious operation that takes hours to complete and sees the removal of the bladder, rectum and internal reproductive organs.

Traditionally, the procedure is open surgery but thanks to the new Da Vinci system it can be done as keyhole surgery.

QA Hospital surgeons Jim Khan and Dan Wilby performed the first Total Pelvic Exenteration using the robot in Europe.

Mr Khan, a consultant colorectal surgeon, said: ‘The new system for the Da Vinci robot has seen the whole machine upgraded and able to do more.

‘It makes long procedures more comfortable and easier for surgeons. It is more state-of-the-art and slick.

‘The system is very new and only five or six other units in the UK have them although they use it for urology.

‘We are the only place to use it for bowel and colorectal cancer patients which makes it very exciting times for us and the hospital.

‘It is really great we have been able to really push the boundaries and do something that has not been done before.’

As previously reported in The News Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, paid off the Da Vinci robot in May after the Rocky Appeal spent years fundraising for it. 

Millions of pounds was raised thanks to fundraisers and donations by patients, their relatives and people wanting to support the hi-tech machine.

Benefits of the robot include reduced scarring, quicker recovery time and better precision.

Its five arms are controlled by the surgeon who sits at a console. The robot at QA has two consoles – something a lot of others do not have.

Mr Khan said: ‘Us having the two consoles means I could work alongside Dan Wilby to do the Total Pelvic Exenteration.

‘You have to remove a lot of things and it is a complicated procedure. We agreed we could do it using the robot and the patient has had the same benefits other patients of the robot have.

‘We are the first centre in Europe to use the Da Vinci for this operation because we have the experience and confidence to do it.

‘QA has been a training centre for robotic surgery and we felt comfortable carrying it out.’