Robotic surgery reaches its second year in Lincolnshire

Surgeons using robotic assisted surgery in Lincolnshire are celebrating a successful second year, and hope the service will soon expand to help more patients.

Posted on in News & Events

More than 500 people have been able to have complex robotic surgeries as part of their urology and colorectal cancer treatment at Lincoln County Hospital since the state-of-the-art system was introduced in February 2022.

Robotic assisted procedures are carried out by a surgeon sat at a special console connected to a robot which is designed to mimic the surgeon’s hand movements.

These procedures are less invasive, and use a standardised approach, which reduces risks during surgery and post-operative complications. The average patient who has robotic surgery will be expected to go home earlier and have a faster recovery.

Television antiques expert Mark Stacey was among the colorectal patients to receive robotic surgery in Lincoln in May 2023.

He said: “From the first moment, everything has been first rate. As a person of a certain age, I received a routine bowel cancer screening test kit in January last year.“My partner had been away at the time and I initially thought I would wait for them to get back before doing it, but I read the instructions and it was something I could do easily for myself. I did the test, returned it and thought nothing more of it. I was then contacted to say I needed more tests and I had a colonoscopy.”

Following a number of diagnostic tests, Mark was confirmed to have a tumour. He says the option of receiving robotic assisted surgery was explained very early in his treatment.

“I was thrilled when I was told I would be able to have the robotic surgery,” Mark explained. “The surgery took a great deal of time and I was in the operating theatre for about 10 hours. What I find staggering is that I woke up feeling a bit bruised but not in a huge amount of pain. I was very soon up and walking around, which is amazing. I had the operation on a Thursday and left on the Sunday afternoon.”

He added: “Having this so close to our home made a big difference to us.”

General Surgery Consultant Amit Shukla delivers colorectal robotic assisted procedures at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, along with consultants Sridhar Dharmavaram and Athula Tennakoon.

Mr Shukla said: “We have implemented robotic surgery successfully for our patients, which has included those with the most challenging surgical complexities.

“In comparison to open or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgeries, those who have robotic assisted procedures experience less blood loss and need less anaesthetic during their surgery. These patients experience fewer post-operative complications, are less likely to need to return to the operating theatre and recover quicker so they have a shorter stay in hospital. This also releases intensive care beds for the sickest patients.

“For our surgeons, the robot offers a clearer field of vision and allows us to complete very precise and delicate surgeries. It also offers exciting opportunities for our clinical teams, including those doctors in training who come to Lincolnshire as part of their learning.”

The Trust will soon be expanding the robotic service to include gynaecology, and also hopes to introduce a second robot in the near future.