News and events

Our 1,000th prostate cancer patient treated using robotic surgery


Newcastle Hospitals has carried out its 1,000 robotic radical prostatectomy on a prostate cancer patient – 6 years after the pioneering procedure was first introduced at the Trust.

Urologists at the Freeman Hospital successfully completed the operation (the removal of the prostate gland) using the Da Vinci robot on Thursday (26 July) which is much less invasive than traditional surgery.

The robot has revolutionised surgical treatment for prostate cancer by making it possible for surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgery with greater precision and control than ever before.

It uses tiny instruments, controlled remotely by the surgeon sitting at a console. The surgeon has the benefits of 3D vision and hand and foot controls to control the micromanipulators, which have a greater range of movement than the human hand.

The hi-tech procedure was introduced with the aim of dramatically improving outcomes and cure rates for men with the disease, while reducing the side effects and complications of surgery and the length of time patients have to stay in hospital.

Consultant urologist Mark Johnson, who performed the surgery, said the benefits for patients had been significant with reduced length of stay, faster return to normal activities and lower rates of incontinence.

“Robotic surgery allows surgeons improved vision and a greater level of precision than the use of conventional surgical techniques,” he said.

“It was a significant development for the Trust and has been embraced by the urology team whose ambition is to improve the diagnosis and management of significant prostate cancer and other cancers using the best available techniques and equipment available.

“We want to continue to deliver the very best care for our patients and improve outcomes for everyone.

The urology team includes Mr Johnson and colleagues Professor Naeem Soomro and Rakesh Heer.

Robotic surgery in Newcastle

Since the robotic surgery programme started in Newcastle in 2012, a total of nearly 2,300 operations have taken place over seven specialties (more than any other robotic centre in Europe) allowing our surgeons to carry out more complex cases robotically which could not have been done  with conventional  minimally invasive instrumentation.

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