Lifesaving robot helps its 500th patient

PUBLISHED: 15:43 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 09 May 2018

Robert Mills, Consultant Surgeon in Urology at NNUH, with the robot. Photo: NNUH

Robert Mills, Consultant Surgeon in Urology at NNUH, with the robot. Photo: NNUH


A £1m robot at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has helped its 500th patient – two years after being unveiled.

The state-of-the-art machine, operated by a surgeon, carried out the first radical prostatectomy in Norwich on February 18, 2016 to remove the prostate of a cancer patient and has been used on average four times a week to help save further lives.

The four-armed robot and console, which provides a magnified 3D view, is mainly used to carry out robotic assisted prostatectomies. However, it has also carried out bladder removal (cystectomy), partial kidney and kidney removal (nephrectomy) and more recently colorectal surgery.

Any cancer patient opting for prostate removal is treated using the robot and are usually discharged the day after surgery.

Five surgeons at NNUH have been trained to use the robot, and surgery usually takes around three hours.

Robert Mills, consultant surgeon in urology, said the use of the robot to do keyhole surgery had resulted in improved outcomes for prostate cancer patients.

He added that NNUH was the seventh fastest hospital in the UK to complete 500 cases.

“We are a busy hospital with a high volume of cases. To reach 500 cases in two years is very quick and justifies setting up the robotic programme.

“It is a fantastic bit of kit. As patients come back to clinic for review it seems clear that their continence and erectile function are better than with previous techniques. The range of movement with robotic instruments enables us to be more precise, which translates into better results.

“The dexterity of the instruments is unparalleled and more than 95 per cent of patients are able to go home the next day,” he said.

Roger Moran, 69, from Southwold, had a robotic assisted prostatectomy on January 9 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

He said: “I was in the operating theatre for three hours, came around in the evening, and was out of hospital the next morning. That is fantastic.

“Mr Mills saved my life. I think it is a great piece of kit and I think should be in every NHS hospital.

“I was very confident because I had a friend who had the same procedure and I do not have any problem with incontinence following the surgery.”

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