Robotic surgery is now used routinely to remove the prostate gland in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The surgeon uses a robotic surgery system to perform minimally invasive surgery with great accuracy. Its use in other areas of medicine, including abdominal surgery, is growing.
Mr Charles Imber uses the da Vinci® robotic surgery system with the latest machine recently purchased at The Cleveland Clinic London Portland Place Outpatient Centre.
Working together with Professor Malago he is the first surgeon in the UK to have carried out a liver resection – an operation to remove a liver cancer – using robotic surgery.
In Spring 2012, he pioneered a second operation, using robotic surgery to operate on a patient with pancreatic cancer, again a UK first.
He has also performed the first robotic single-site cholecystectomy, where a single 1.5 cm incision in the navel is used to remove the gallbladder, instead of the four separate incisions used in laparoscopic surgery.
"The advantages of using a robot in surgery are many and varied; it allows you greater dexterity and movement when using the instruments allowing a complex procedure to be performed safely. This is especially important in liver/pancreas surgery where rapid suturing to control bleeding or to join vessels and bile ducts may be necessary. This is not laparoscopic surgery but the more modern equivalent with all the inherent benefits of a minimally invasive approach, including potentially increased safety".
Robotic surgery is likely to be explored further in the next few years, and Mr Imber plans to continue his pioneering approach, perfecting HPB and general surgery techniques.