The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Milestone achievement: Leeds hospital trust becomes first in Yorkshire to deliver 5,000 robotic surgical procedures.

18 October 2023

M202300921 051 11Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust (LTHT) is celebrating its 5,000th case of robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.

LTHT installed its first da Vinci system in 2005 and is now home to three of the most advanced robotic systems from Intuitive, which are used by surgeons to treat patients across eight surgical specialities in Leeds, including cancer treatment and specialist care for children.

More patients than ever before at Leeds are benefitting from the improved clinical outcomes of robotic-assisted surgery, such as faster recovery times, reduced length of stay, fewer complications, fewer readmissions, with the need for conversion to open surgery far less likely.

Last year, two older robotic systems across the Trust received updates and a brand-new model was introduced to the Leeds robotic surgical suite based at St James’s University Hospital. Since then, the number of patients receiving robotic-assisted surgery for cancer treatment has more than doubled.

The da Vinci systems provide the surgeon with an advanced set of instruments for minimally invasive surgery. By inserting a tiny camera inside the patient, the surgeon directs the robotic arms from the surgeon console, which translates the surgeon’s hand movements in real time, bending and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure, allowing for far greater precision than traditional laparoscopic or open surgery.

Prof. Phil Wood, Chief Executive at LTHT, said:

“It’s a very exciting time for Leeds. We’re already one of the biggest robotic surgical centres in the NHS and our Paediatric Robotic programme at Leeds Children’s Hospital is one of the largest internationally.

“We believe our recent investments in our da Vinci systems are now paying off for both our patients and our surgical teams. With this 5,000th patient, it’s clear more patients than ever before are benefitting from robotic-assisted surgery, and we can look forward to even more people receiving those benefits as more surgeons are trained to do other procedures using the system.”

He added: “This impressive milestone demonstrates our commitment to delivering world-class care and for making Leeds an international centre of excellence for robotic surgery.”

Matthew Millott, Deputy Team Leader – Robotics at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, said:

“Thanks to the number of procedures now possible using robotic-assisted surgery and some careful theatre scheduling and co-ordination, we are seeing tremendous benefits as it means we can treat more patients sooner, which is great news for patients who are waiting for surgery.

“For some patients who received robotic-assisted surgery, the hospital stay has reduced from more than a week to just one or two days, such as with the newly implemented Nephroureterectomy program. As a result, we are enabling more and more patients to get on with their lives after surgery, much faster than before.”

He added: “Robots aren’t replacing anyone – we still need highly-skilled surgeons to operate the da Vinci systems, and we have an excellent professional team including dedicated robotic surgical assistants, nurses, operating department practitioners, and anaesthetists who are all needed to make this happen.”

David Marante, UK Regional Director of Intuitive, the maker of the da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system, said:

“We’d like to congratulate the team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals for reaching 5,000 procedures using the da Vinci system. It has been a privilege to work with the team as they have expanded their robotic surgery programme to provide more patients with access to minimally invasive surgery.”

Carol Stott 2Carol Stott, 72 and from Leeds, is the 5,000th patient to have undergone robot-assisted surgery at LTHT. She said:

“I didn’t know what to expect when I was told about robot-assisted surgery. It seemed marvellous, and when it was explained it to me, I was really put at ease. It was a big team who looked after me – they were all really delighted by the outcome. I remember lying in bed after the procedure feeling elated.”

She added: “Everyone was amazed with how well I was so quickly after the operation. My friends visited the following week and couldn’t believe it. I’ve been looked after so well.”

Leeds Children’s Hospital became the first hospital in the UK to install a robotic system dedicated to performing paediatric surgery in 2005. This was replaced in 2015 with a newer system thanks to a charitable donation.

As one of the country’s leading teaching hospitals the formation of a robotic case observation centre has allowed for surgical peers and trainees to observe live robotic surgery and learn from experienced robotic surgeons.

It has meant Leeds has gained a reputation as a centre of excellence, attracting surgeons wishing to train within the robotic specialty from across Europe.

With dual console capabilities, trainees at Leeds teaching hospitals can get hands on experience with the da Vinci system during their training, learning valuable skills for their future surgical careers.