A robot which is used to operate on kidney cancer patients has performed 100 operations since surgeons at the Royal Free Hospital started using it a year ago.

The da Vinci robot allows surgeons to make smaller and more precise incisions, which means that they can perform more complex surgery and in many cases a tumour can be removed and the rest of the kidney preserved.

It also allows surgeons to perform keyhole rather than open surgery, more often. Patients generally recover more quickly after keyhole surgery than they do following open surgery so, because of the robot, more of our patients are well enough to leave hospital sooner.

All the surgeons who operate the £1 million robot are specialists in kidney cancer surgery and undergo specialist training in order to operate the robot.

Michael Aitchison, renal cancer service director, said he was pleased with how the robot has performed.

“This surgical robot has been a huge success,” he said. “We are using it three or four times a week. We can perform more complex surgery and we can perform keyhole surgery more often. Additionally we can perform delicate suturing to repair the remaining kidney. The robot also means more of our patients can keep their kidneys because it allows us to remove just the tumour, rather than removing the whole kidney.”

The Royal Free Hospital is now a specialist centre for kidney cancer. This means that patients from across north and east London and Essex are being referred here for treatment. This year around 400 kidney cancer patients are expected to be treated at the Royal Free Hospital.

Image: Mr Faizul Mumtaz, urology consultant, and the da Vinci robot


Notes to editors

Media contacts: mary.mcconnell2@nhs.net or call 020 7472 6665

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare. 

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read our news story: A bigger trust, a better future.