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Celebrating the success of robotic-assisted surgical programme

06 December 2021

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The success of a robotic-assisted surgery programme has been celebrated after reaching a landmark at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Trust became the first hospital in the region to carry out bowel cancer surgeries using robotic-assisted technology in 2017. Over the last four years staff have carried out 200 colorectal surgeries using this minimally invasive method.

The Sir Thomas Browne Academic Colorectal Unit now has three Consultants who carry out robotic-assisted colorectal surgery and has piloted a project for trainee surgeons to develop their skills.

Irshad Shaikh, Consultant Colorectal and lead Robotic colorectal surgeon said: “We are one of the pioneers in colorectal robotic-assisted surgery and we have all the technology to deliver high quality surgery that benefits the patient enormously with minimally invasive approach, which leads to faster recovery and faster discharge from hospital. Over the last four years we have performed in excess of 200 operations with really good outcomes using 4th generation advanced technology. We regularly host consultant surgeons from the rest of the country and aiming to become a national reference centre with fellowship, proctoring and registrar training programmes and complex cancer surgery programs. We hope this will not only benefit Norfolk but also rest of the UK teams.

“There is nothing more satisfying when you tell a patient who has come in with a problem like a cancer or tumour that it has been successfully removed and that smile drives you to do even more and better.”

The Trust has two da Vinci 4th generation robots in main theatres, which were funded by a £1m donation from the N&N Hospitals Charity.

Ahmed El Hadi, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, said: “We are one of the largest colorectal units in the country and the most important thing is what our robotic-assisted surgery programme delivers for patients. The data and audits show us that we are consistently getting good results in regards to outcomes from surgery and length of stay. It has been a big team effort and has taken a lot of hard work and I am proud to see the service reaching this stage.

“It is nice to see there is a programme in our unit to get more and more people trained and we have become an established European accredited centre to take on fellowships from across the world.”

For a behind the scenes look at the robotic-assisted colorectal (bowel cancer surgery) surgical programme, view this five minute video!

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