The UK’s first long distance proctoring surgical procedure with Intuitive Hub has been carried out at Russells Hall Hospital by two consultants who were 170 miles apart!
Dudley consultant urologist Mr Syed Shahzad performed a complex robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy during surgery while consultant urological surgeon Mark Rochester remotely entered the operating theatre via the Intuitive Hub from almost 200 miles away in Norfolk.
During the da Vinci surgery, Mr Rochester from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) had full access to the operation in real time and surgeons communicated through a headset without any time-delay.
Mr Syed Shahzad said: “Robotic-assisted renal surgery is a great success story for Black Country collaboration and this is a proud day for the Dudley Group. The use of remote technology will support surgeons during complex procedures which could lead to better patient care and provide a better patient experience.”
This complex robotic-assisted operation includes removal of tumour from the kidney as opposed to removing the whole kidney which adds to patients’ health and longevity. This allows preservation of kidneys hence avoids need for dialysis.
Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: “Robotics availability at the Dudley Group will help reduce waiting times for renal cancer surgery with enhanced capacity and improved surgical outcomes.”
Mark Rochester said: “As an experienced trainer, I have helped many surgeons to safely set up robotic-assisted surgical programmes for kidney cancer. Usually this requires me to travel to be in the theatre with the surgeon, but with this new technology it is possible for me to see the same view as the operating surgeon and speak to them in real time from my desk. It is great to be able to support other surgeons with advice and guidance using this new platform and to share the experience we have built up at NNUH.”
The Black Country ICS is leading in terms of expansion in robotic-assisted surgery and this is a great achievement of Black Country collaboration and exemplary initiative to improve cancer care within the region. The induction and implementation of a robotic-assisted renal programme can be a challenging and complex task. Remote proctoring supports this implementation by allowing trainee surgeons to learn from specialised urologist surgeons, without the need for them to be in the same room.
Intuitive Hub allows surgeons to collaborate virtually with each other, transmitting and receiving real-time audio and video. Remote surgeons can have a view of the operating theatre as well as the endoscopic view of the surgery itself. Through this technology, surgeons can communicate and share their perspectives without the need for travel during complex procedures, peer-to-peer learning without the need to travel, making training and upskilling in robotic-assisted surgery more accessible.