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Robotic bladder operation first of its kind in Dorset

24 October

Surgeons at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) have removed a patient’s bladder using their surgical robot - the first procedure of its kind in Dorset.

The milestone operation came just weeks after the RBH team performed their 1,000th procedure using the Da Vinci robot, which was introduced at the hospital in 2013. The robot offers higher degrees of vision, control and dexterity than a human surgeon and is controlled by the Trust’s consultant surgeons from an operating console in the theatre.

Consultant Urologist Mr Kevin Turner and his surgical team performed the first robotic radical cystectomy – the full removal of a bladder and prostate – on Murray Cook, a 74-year-old grandfather from Ringwood last month.

Mr Cook had cancer of the bladder and had undergone a number of procedures since being diagnosed in 2017. When he was offered the minimally invasive robotic surgery, he was initially reluctant.

He said: “When I was first approached by Mr Turner asking if I was happy for him to use the robot, my answer was no. But then I spoke to the family and thought, ‘why not be the first person in Dorset to have this op’.”

Mr Cook had his operation on 12 September and left hospital within two weeks. “The care I had was very good,” he explained, adding: “It is excellent technology and the team here have the knowledge to use it. The operation was far less invasive so my recovery time was quicker. Besides my stoma bag, I’ve got just five small puncture wounds to show for it.

“I’m pleased I did it. It’s one up for Bournemouth!”

Mr Cook returned to RBH recently to meet his surgical team, and also offered his support to the second patient about to undergo the same procedure. He is now recovering well at home and is keen to get back on the golf course.

His wife Brenda said: “We were living under the sword of Damocles before we had this. It always felt like the cancer would come back. But now there’s no cancer living in our house and we can’t thank the hospital enough.”

When the robot was introduced in 2013, it was mainly used on patients with cancer of the prostate. Within two years, RBH surgeons were using it in colorectal surgery and now more than 1,000 patients have been treated with the innovative technology.

Mr Turner said: “There is an increasing acceptance now of the advantages of using the robot, and more and more patients come to us asking if we’ll be using it.

“We are at the beginning of a phase of more and more robotic operations. The procedure is so much better for the patient. It combines the next generation of technology with the real human approach, so our patients still get that very personalised care.

“As surgeons we like learning new things and it’s great to see our trainees get excited about the future.

“Mr Cook’s operation, and the 1,000th robotic procedure, are both really impressive milestones and I’m proud of the whole team for the work they do to change peoples’ lives.”


Murray Cook with his wife Brenda and the surgical team

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