Robot will aid cancer surgery

Da Vinci Robot press launch at Eastbourne DGH, 30/1/15.''(Still shot taken from the video) SUS-150102-090544001
Da Vinci Robot press launch at Eastbourne DGH, 30/1/15.''(Still shot taken from the video) SUS-150102-090544001

A state-of-the-art ‘robotic surgeon’ will soon be able to perform operations on patients from the Rye and Battle area.

The Da Vinci robot will be based at Eastbourne District General Hospital and has been provided by the Friends of the hospital on a lease purchase basis and fundraising will now begin to raise the £1 million needed to pay for it.

Its principle use will be for patients with prostate cancer requiring major surgery, but patients with other pelvic and colorectal cancers may also be helped in the future.

Guided by the surgeon, the ‘robot’ provides a greater degree of accuracy and precision and at the same time is much less tiring for the surgeon – both physically and mentally.

It has two parts: the tower, positioned directly over the patient during surgery, contains the robot’s arms that can hold a multitude of different surgical instruments and 3-D cameras. The arms are controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements of the operating surgeon.

The second is the console where the surgeon sits and operates the robot’s controls while looking into a stereoscopic monitor that provides a magnified, high definition 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon manipulates the robot’s four arms by manoeuvring two master controls that provide fingertip precision of movement. Video screens link in the rest of the surgical team by providing a two-dimensional view of what the surgeon is looking at through the da Vinci’s monitor.

The equipment would usually cost in excess of £2 million but the Friends group secured it at just over £1 million.

Friends chairman Dr Peter Nash said: “This was too good an opportunity to miss.”

The DGH is the sister hospital to the Conquest and both are run by East Sussex Healthcare NHS trust.