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UHBW to perform robot-assisted surgical procedures for six specialities with new Da Vinci XI robot

Last updated: 07/11/2023

UHBW staff attend training for the Da Vinci XI robot during robot-assisted surgery.

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) is now using a new robot, named Da Vinci XI, to assist surgery for six different specialties, including colorectal; ear, nose and throat; gynaecology; hepatobiliary; oesophagogastric; and thoracics.

This represents a wider range of robot-assisted surgeries being offered than the usual 1-3 specialities offered by most NHS trusts in the country, meaning patients in Bristol will have access to the surgical care they need right on their doorstep.

The new robot was installed into Heygroves Theatre 4 in the Bristol Royal Infirmary on Tuesday 19 September, where it has already been used to assist with over 30 surgical procedures.

The machinery allows surgeons to perform complex cancer procedures more accurately, as well as less complex ones such as tonsillectomies.

Paul Wilkerson, Oesophagogastric Surgeon at UHBW, said: “The Trust’s investment in robot-assisted surgery will allow us to perform complex cancer resections more accurately, and with more precision, leading to reduced complications after major surgery. We will also see improvements in operative outcomes for patients who have complex upper gastrointestinal surgery for benign conditions due to the enhanced 3D vision, improved accuracy and precision of the robotic instruments."

Igor Saftic, Thoracic Surgeon at UHBW, added: "Robotic surgery will allow us to treat a wider population of patients by minimally invasive means, further pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved by using keyhole surgery.  Paired with targeted lung health checks, this will significantly enhance treatment and patient recovery."

The Da Vinci XI robot in full view.

Surgical staff have undergone training to learn how the robot assists with surgical procedures. In the future, UHBW is planning to expand its robotic surgery service further by introducing a second robot to assist surgery, meaning local patients will have even better access to robotic surgery.