The London Clinic welcomed the arrival of our very first surgical robot, the da Vinci Surgical System, in 2005.
As the first UK private hospital to offer robotic surgery for prostate cancer, the intention was to create a gold standard for robotic surgery right in the heart of Harley Street, the country’s leading medical district.
Since then, we have been home to each iteration of the da Vinci robot, including the latest da Vinci Xi, which has been in use since November 2020.
Additionally, we have introduced two other robots, the NAVIO Surgical System for orthopaedic cases and the AquaBeam Surgical Robot for prostate resection, becoming the only UK private hospital to house a trio of robots.
This month, we reached an exciting milestone with the da Vinci Xi, surpassing 10 successful colorectal cases on the new robot.
The da Vinci Xi provides surgeons with an advanced set of instruments as well as an “intelligent” patient table, to use in performing robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon guides the robot remotely using a nearby console.
In the case of this latest colorectal surgery, the surgeon in question was Mr Manish Chand, a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Professor of Surgery based at The London Clinic, along with his partner, Consultant Surgeon Mr Jim Khan.
“For a number of reasons, the uptake of robotic surgery in certain fields has been slow within the private sector,” says Mr Chand.
“Often, the robots have been limited to the field of urology; or there has been a lack of resources and training to perform robotic surgery.”
Each of these cases has delivered a variety of benefits compared to other forms of surgery, meaning better outcomes can be achieved for patients.
“There are a great many benefits to robotic surgery, which we are keen on sharing with our patients,” he continues.
“Patients should know that there is often an alternative in robotics and that it may be a better choice than traditional open forms of surgery, particularly for more complex procedures.”
This recent milestone is indicative of The London Clinic’s ability to continue expanding robotic surgery into other fields, thereby allowing more patients who have previously been told they can only have open surgery to have minimally invasive surgery – and reap the many benefits of it.
For L.G., a patient who recently underwent colorectal surgery, it was the first time she had experienced robotic surgery.
“During my first consultation with Mr Chand at The London Clinic, he mentioned to me the possibility of having ‘robotic surgery’, which I had never heard of,” she says.
“Mr Chand explained to me very clearly how robotic surgery works and the benefits of it, including that it is less invasive and that it reduces the level of pain, the scarring and the recovery time.
"I am glad that we decided that robotic surgery would be the most beneficial option in my case and I could not be happier with the level of care I received.”
Speaking of the benefits of robotic surgery, Mr Chand adds, “Our patients have found robotic surgery to be hugely satisfying and comfortable. They have experienced little pain post-operatively, and have been able to go home quickly and safely when compared to other forms of surgery.
"We are also seeing a number of international patients enquiring for these procedures and recognising the expertise based at The London Clinic across many specialties.”
Building a centre of excellence
These advances in robotic colorectal surgery are the latest step in creating a centre of excellence in robotics at The London Clinic.
With the aim of advancing healthcare for the benefit of patients and the wider healthcare community, the mission is to continue further expanding this robotic offering into other fields of medicine.
Professor Prokar Dasgupta is a Urology Consultant and The London Clinic’s Robotics and Technology Lead, a position he has held since 2018. He works alongside an expert multi-disciplinary team, including consultants, nurses, anaesthetists and other specialists, to deliver top-quality care for patients.
“We have already established a world-leading programme in urology at The London Clinic, and I am thrilled that we are now extending tangibly into colorectal, the second biggest cancer,” he says.
“This is important progress, both for clinicians and their patients. Our aim is to continue building a centre of excellence in robotics, with the most advanced equipment that is available, in London’s leading medical district.”