First Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer

There is a first for everything, and last week Stuart Ellis fell into the category. Undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, he was the first person in the world to be operated on for prostate surgery by a surgeon using a hand-held robot. The device has been used in gastrointestinal surgeries and for gynecological purposes. The surgery took place at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, England by urology surgeon Neil Oakley.

The benefits with this device are many – it has more flexibility than the human wrist, creating a precision that surgeons can’t and it actually creates a faster surgical procedure.  It also reduces the risk of potential mistakes since it offers the surgeon extra ability to maneuver and access to areas that are difficult to reach.

The robot is called a Kymerax robot that was made by the Japanese company Terumo. It’s actually much cheaper than larger robots, which can cost over a million dollars. This robot costs closer to $50,000 and has much smaller running costs.

Ellis was diagnosed with cancer last month and only recently found out that he would be the first to try this new procedure. As he explained,

“Being told you’ve been diagnosed with cancer is not a pleasant experience, but it’s good to know something positive for other people is coming out of this. If this means other cancer patients in the future can get quicker treatment with the most advanced technology, then I’m proud to be part of it. I was in shock when the surgeon said he would be using a robot but it sounds like a fantastic tool and I’m not apprehensive about it.”

The surgeon has explained that the procedure will be filmed for future training and he has explained that he is excited to use the new technology. As he said,

“The fusion of maintaining the feel and touch during an operation with the greater robotic articulation that makes it so special. This robot can do things not physically possibly with a human wrist and gives you the best of both worlds.”