Next-generation robot lands at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

A grandfather of four has become the first person in the UK to have his prostate gland removed by a new surgical robotic system at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has become the first in London to adopt Versius, which is designed and built in Cambridge by CMR Surgical. 

Nasser Jadalizadeh, 78, from Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey was the first patient to benefit after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The operation at Guy’s Hospital, called a prostatectomy, was led by Professor Prokar Dasgupta.

Nasser said:

Professor Dasgupta spoke to me in depth so I really had no question about it. I was very excited and chuffed to be the first patient.
I had no pain at all after I got home from hospital, just slight discomfort for a few days. I’m currently as good as gold.
I am back to doing four or five mile walks and when I come home I’m tired but not exhausted. Later this month I’ll be playing golf again.

Prokar Dasgupta, Honorary Consultant Urological Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Professor of Surgery at King’s Health Partners, said:

We have pioneered the use of robotic technology in the UK. Adding Versius to our robotic surgery programme means that even more patients can now benefit from faster recovery times, less time in hospital and reduced risk of infection. This is particularly important as the NHS tries to treat as many patients as it can at this busy time.

Versius has been designed so that the individual robotic arms can be moved between hospital sites and departments. This means that a number of different procedures can be performed efficiently across our busy operating theatres.

During a robotic procedure, surgeons control the robotic instruments while sitting at an open console in the same room with a 3D HD view. They look down a small camera on the end of one arm to see inside the patient.

The robot is already helping surgeons to perform prostate and kidney removal, pyeloplasty reconstruction (to remove a blockage in one of the ureters) and adrenal surgery. It will be used for colorectal and general surgeries in the future.

Nasser, a retired GP, added:

The whole team – surgical, ward and clinic – were extremely helpful and what Professor Dasgupta did for me was replace the fear of illness with the trust in recovery.

The Trust will also train its surgeons on the new robot in a purpose built facility onsite, run by King’s College London in collaboration with CMR Surgical. A second Versius robot will be provided at St Thomas’ Hospital, within a dedicated research operating room, as part of a new Department of Surgical & Interventional Engineering, within the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences.

The partnership with King’s College London will establish a Centre of Excellence which means that surgeons can train and advance their skills on the system easily within the hospital which will save valuable time and resources.

Sebastien Ourselin, Professor of Healthcare Engineering at King’s College London said:

This really is an immense achievement for surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’. I congratulate Professor Dasgupta and the team on this milestone and importantly ensuring Nasser can resume his life with trust in recovery.
“King’s is proud to be able to facilitate the training of our surgical colleagues within its brand-new research facility. It is a unique opportunity that will be of greater benefit to our teams and ultimately patients.”

Mark Slack, Chief Medical Officer at CMR Surgical, said:

We are delighted that Guy’s and St Thomas’ has chosen to expand its surgical robotics programme with Versius. In designing Versius our goal was to provide a versatile, portable, and cost-effective surgical robotic system that could transform the field of minimal access surgery – allowing more patients to benefit than currently do. The introduction of Versius at the Trust does just that, and crucially at a time when patients, surgeons and hospitals are facing significant health and economic challenges.

Listen to Ben Challacombe, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, speaking about the incredible technology and hear about Nasser's positive experience on BBC Radio London.