Surgeons at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital perform 1,000th prostate cancer operation using a robot

PUBLISHED: 11:22 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 28 September 2017

John Rouse (centre) was the urology team's first patient for prostate cancer surgery, and Arthur Sadowski (second left) was the 1,000th. They are pictured with the clinical director for urology and consultant urological surgeon Jim Adshead (far left), and fellow consultant urological surgeons  Tim Lane (second right) and Nikhil Vasdev (far right). CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

John Rouse (centre) was the urology team's first patient for prostate cancer surgery, and Arthur Sadowski (second left) was the 1,000th. They are pictured with the clinical director for urology and consultant urological surgeon Jim Adshead (far left), and fellow consultant urological surgeons Tim Lane (second right) and Nikhil Vasdev (far right). CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

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Surgeons at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital have performed their 1,000th prostate cancer operation using a robot called Da Vinci.

Surgeons at Lister Hospital in Stevenage have perfomed their 1,000th prostate cancer operation using a robot. CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust. Surgeons at Lister Hospital in Stevenage have perfomed their 1,000th prostate cancer operation using a robot. CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

The team at Lister’s Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Urological Cancer Centre, which opened in December 2008, has carried out its 1,000th prostatectomy procedure using robotic surgery, making the centre one of the largest services in the country.

The surgery carried out by the team also includes full and partial removal of a kidney, and bladder removal and reconstruction.

Consultant urological surgeon and clinical director for urology, Jim Adshead, said: “The urology team has always sought to provide services locally that in many parts of the country could only be found in major teaching hospitals.

“Thanks to the generosity of benefactors Stef and Stelio Stefanou, we were the first district general hospital to offer robotic urological surgery.

“Until very recently, we were the only centre in the country to be approved by the Royal College of Surgeons to train the next generation of urology consultants in robotic surgery. To date we have helped to place six training fellows in substantive roles in hospitals around the world.”

Traditional approaches to such prostate surgery can leave positive margins in about 25 per cent of cases, which can result in some cancer cells being left behind.

Mr Adshead said: “Currently the Lister team is the only centre in the country to offer robotic prostate surgery with NeuroSAFE – a technique to spare nerves around the prostate gland without compromising the cancer margin. The procedure improves recovery of bladder and sexual function to world class levels.

“Given the national rate is around one quarter of patients having their prostate have a positive margin, we are proud of our positive margin rate of only seven to eight per cent of our cases. So, not only do our patients have a far better chance of getting their bladder and sexual functions back after surgery, far fewer will need further treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy – which is better for them and less cost to the NHS.”

The prostate cancer margins are checked live by Dr Samita Agarwal and Dr Ashish Narula – the Trust’s uro-pathologists – while the patients are still anaesthetised.

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