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Brightlingsea man's cancer operated on by robot

November 10, 2020
Patrick Murray - operated on by robot

A Brightlingsea grandfather has become one of only a handful of patients to have his cancer operation carried out by a robot.

Patrick Murray’s bowel cancer was successfully treated at Colchester Hospital by the £2.5m Davinci Xi surgical robot, which was controlled by surgeon Subash Vasudevan, the East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation Trust's cancer lead clinician.

Mr Murray said he’d had blood in his poo – a symptom of bowel cancer – during the last six months, and although an initial sample didn’t confirm the diagnosis, further investigations did. Given the choice to have the operation to remove a tumour in his colon carried out by robot, he jumped at the chance. "I thought it was amazing and feel so privileged to have the opportunity." said the 81-year-old.

He added: "My recovery has been remarkable – I was walking on day one, climbing stairs on day two and now two weeks later I’m walking an hour a day. I’m still a bit tired but think that’s to be expected."

Using the robot – which has four arms to move tissue or make cuts – was less invasive than a traditional operation and required four incisions, similar to keyhole surgery. Mr Vasudevan said he prefers to use it. "The vision of the robot is amazing – it’s an incredible help when performing a long and difficult operation. You can see so much more as it magnifies areas, such as nerves, and means you can be even more precise. It’s also incredibly stable, so makes complex surgery easier and means the surgeon is less tired after a long operation."

Currently the robot is being used for colorectal procedures and the hospital trust says gynaecological and urological procedures will soon be following.

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