Surgeons in London are the first in the world to operate through a patient’s mouth using the Versius robotic device.
A team of doctors from Guy’s and St. Thomas’ used the Versius robot, previously used to treat urology patients, to remove tumors in the mouth.
The less invasive approach, known as transoral robotic surgery, can speed up patient recovery time. Although the technique is well established, it has not been implemented with Versius before.
But following a groundbreaking research project, six patients have been treated with the robot, including Barbara Jones, 75, from Upminster. The grandmother of three had two benign cysts removed from her throat.
She told the Standard: “When I first heard I was going to be operated on by a robot, I said to my son, ‘R2-D2 is doing my surgery’! I didn’t know about robotic surgery before, but it’s remarkable what they can do. It feels odd to be one of the first people to have this, but I was more concerned about going to the hospital and getting rid of the pain. It feels a lot better now.”
Before the rollout of transoral robotic surgery, surgeons would typically have performed larger, more invasive surgeries with longer recovery times.
For some patients, the minimally invasive approach may mean they need smaller doses of further treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or they may not need any additional treatments at all.
The Versius robotic system consists of four modular robotic arms that are operated by surgeons. Medics operate the instruments while sitting at an open console in the same room with a 3D HD display. One of the robotic arms controls a camera to look inside the patient.
Ms. Jones was operated on by Asit Arora, head and neck surgery director at Guy’s and St. Thomas, along with Jean-Pierre Jeannon, head and neck surgeon. Mr Arora said: “The Versius robot uses miniaturized surgical instruments that are perfect in such a small operating room.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ has six robots operating in six specialities: urology, thoracic, head and neck, gynaecology, transplantation and gastrointestinal.