Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Centre pioneers robotic surgery

Robotic arms

Surgeons control robotic arms which are capable of great precision

A £2m device which carries out robotic surgery is being pioneered in Oxford.

The dual-console gadget, which is the only one of its kind in the UK, is used by surgeons to carry out precise keyhole surgery.

Its unique design allows surgeons to train others more quickly and safer than ever before, the Oxford Cancer Centre said.

It will be used in some prostate and renal cancer operations, with surgeons aiming to expand its use in the future.

A set of robotic arms, operated by the surgeon sitting at a console, is used to carry out invasive surgery with great precision, the university said.

It is unique in having dual consoles to allow an experienced operator to train other surgeons in use of the robot, much like dual control allows driving instructors to aid those learning to drive.

The console also allows the surgeon to see in 3D and at 10 to 15 times magnification.

'Astonishing precision'

It should allow Oxford to become a centre for robotic surgery training in the UK.

Freddie Hamdy, Nuffield Professor of Surgery at the University of Oxford, said: "These robotic systems are revolutionising the way surgery is carried out, offering astonishing precision.

"Patients will be able to benefit from the latest developments in surgery and, with improved recovery times, they should be able to go home sooner as well."

The da Vinci surgical system was bought by Oxford University and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals.

As well as benefiting patients and teaching, the new robot will be used at the centre of research to evaluate the new technology.

Moira Logie, divisional director, said: "At the moment only patients funded by research and charitable funds can be treated with the robot but we hope that NHS commissioners will support this technology in the future once it has been thoroughly evaluated."

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