Train­ing man­ager Mike Ghat­tas and co-di­rec­tor Dr Vanessa Kay at the Dundee In­sti­tute for Health­care Sim­u­la­tion ad­mire their new ro­botic surgery sim­u­la­tor which will be used for train­ing.

Dundee hos­pi­tal will lead the way for sur­gi­cal ro­bot­ics north of the bor­der

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­ture: Mhairi Ed­wards.

Dundee is set to lead the coun­try in train­ing medics to use sur­gi­cal ro­bots to treat pa­tients.

The Dundee In­sti­tute for Health­care Sim­u­la­tion at Ninewells Hos­pi­tal is de­vel­op­ing Scot­land’s first train­ing pro­gramme for ro­botic-as­sisted surgery after tak­ing de­liv­ery of a £1.7 mil­lion da Vinci Xi robot.

The robot has four thin arms that are in­serted into a pa­tient through strate­gi­cally placed in­ci­sions no more than two cen­time­tres long.

These are then ma­nip­u­lated by a sur­geon us­ing hand and foot con­trols, al­low­ing them to op­er­ate with­out the need for large in­ci­sions.

Sur­gi­cal ro­bots are used to carry out op­er­a­tions across four health boards in Scot­land, but sur­geons must travel to Eng­land or over­seas to be trained in their use.

The in­stal­la­tion of the da Vinci Xi robot at DIHS – a med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre formed by Dundee Uni­ver­sity, NHS Tay­side and in­dus­try part­ners Medtronic – is the first step to­wards a full ro­botic train­ing cen­tre be­ing es­tab­lished north of the bor­der.

Dundee Uni­ver­sity and NHS Tay­side staff were given a first ex­pe­ri­ence of ro­bot­ics train­ing yes­ter­day when op­er­a­tors show­cased the da Vinci’s full range of abil­i­ties in a sim­u­lated set­ting.

The robot will be used to train sur­geons and the­atre staff across dis­ci­plines in­clud­ing urol­ogy, gy­nae­col­ogy, ENT and gen­eral surgery.

A range of cour­ses from ba­sic ro­botic skills to ad­vanced mas­ter­classes will be avail­able at DIHS. Train­ing will also be given to sur­geons along­side the con­ven­tional com­po­nents of ex­ist­ing med­i­cal cour­ses.

DIHS co-di­rec­tor Dr Vanessa Kay pre­dicted ro­bot­ics will trans­form the sur­gi­cal process in a sim­i­lar way to key­hole surgery, pi­o­neered in Dundee by Sir Al­fred Cuschieri.

She said: “No one was do­ing la­paro­scopic surgery when Sir Al­fred pi­o­neered its use and clin­i­cal

Ro­bot­ics can lead to bet­ter out­comes

im­ple­men­ta­tion but now 70% of all surgery is min­i­mally in­va­sive.

“Soon we will start to see ro­botic surgery tak­ing on more and more of the pro­ce­dures cur­rently done as a re­sult of Sir Al­fred’s work.”

She said: “Ev­i­dence has shown that ro­bot­ics can lead to bet­ter out­comes, re­duced length of hos­pi­tal stays, re­duced amounts of blood lost dur­ing surgery and im­proved ac­cu­racy of tech­nique. As such, it is vi­tal that Scot­land is at the fore­front of ro­bot­ics train­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion.”

There could be no bet­ter place than Ninewells Hos­pi­tal for Scot­land’s first train­ing pro­gramme for robot­i­cally-as­sisted surgery.

For it was in that self-same in­sti­tu­tion in the mid 1970s that Dr Al­fred Cuschieri be­gan his pi­o­neer­ing work in the field of min­i­mal ac­cess surgery.

It is es­ti­mated that up to 70% of sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures are now per­formed in this way.

Mil­lions of pa­tients across the globe have Dr Cuschieri and his team to thank for ad­vances that made po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous pro­ce­dures rou­tine and sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved post-oper­a­tive re­cov­ery rates.

More than 40 years on and de­vel­op­ments in ro­bot­ics tech­nol­ogy mean ma­chines are be­ing used to en­hance the sur­gi­cal tool­kit.

The ca­pac­ity to carry out in­tri­cate tasks within in­cred­i­ble tol­er­ances is vi­tal to en­sure pos­i­tive out­comes for pa­tients.

The new £1.7 mil­lion da Vinci Xi Robot which has been in­stalled at the Dundee In­sti­tute for Health­care Sim­u­la­tion at Ninewells is a real step for­ward for health­care in Scot­land.

It will al­low a new gen­er­a­tion of sur­geons to learn their craft here for the first time.

And as they do so, they will be stand­ing on the shoul­ders of a gi­ant whose con­tri­bu­tion to health­care is im­pos­si­ble to over­state.

Pic­ture: Mhairi Ed­wards.

DIHS co-di­rec­tor Dr Vanessa Kay with the sur­gi­cal robot.

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