Surgical breakthrough as robot is used to treat rectal cancer patient

Father becomes first in Britain to have robotic cancer surgery to remove all organs in pelvis

This was the first time in Britain a total pelvic exenteration has been carried out using robotic surgery

A charity worker has become the first person in Britain to undergo major robotic surgery for advanced rectal cancer.

Dean Walter, 41, from south London, needed a difficult operation to remove all the organs in his pelvic area, including the bladder, rectum and prostate, after his cancer spread despite earlier chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Usually the surgery involves a huge incision from the chest to the pelvis which causes substantial scarring and requires around three weeks in hospital recovering.

But the father-of-one was able to go home after just 10 days following the minimally-invasive procedure which was carried out by surgeons at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London using a Da Vinci robot.

The operation was carried out consultant surgeons Shahnawaz Rasheed and Pardeep Kumar, who controlled four robotic arms from a remote console which has ‘hands’ that are surgical instruments.

The surgeons made small incisions to access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis, using the instruments to move and remove the tissue and organs affected by cancer. The operation took around eight hours.

Rasheed said: “Our traditional approach would be to do a large incision which would have taken a substantial amount of time and is hugely invasive, leading to longer recovery and substantial scarring.

“In contrast, by using the robotic technology, we could do the procedure through a minimally-invasive approach.

“It’s hugely important for this young man to help him get back to leading a normal life as safely and quickly as possible.”

It is the first time that the operation, called a total pelvic exenteration, has been carried out in Britain.

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