A woman says she believes robotic surgery saved her life after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Deborah Speirs, from the Tollcross area of Glasgow, opted for the “innovative” procedure over traditional surgery after being told she had stage three bowel cancer in March 2021.
After undergoing the operation, as well as chemotherapy, he has now been given the all-clear.
He said: “At a very traumatic and difficult time for me and my family, I believe robotic surgery saved my life.”
Mrs Speirs opted for robotic surgery after Professor Campbell Roxburgh, a surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, explained the procedure to her.
Before that, he said he had “never heard of this kind of procedure”, adding: “An operation is a scary word in itself and I never thought anything about a robot being directed by a surgeon.”
More than 60 doctors across NHS Scotland are trained in the use of robotic surgery, with 15 machines in operation.
In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the procedures are available at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, with colorectal, urology and gynecology operations that can be performed this way, as well as surgery head and neck
The Da Vinci robotic systems used have four arms that can hold a camera as well as surgical tools, with a surgeon operating them from a console in the operating room.
Robots offer surgeons a greater range of motion than in traditional surgery, with the precision that brings faster recovery times, with shorter hospital stays for patients.
With faster recovery times after robotic surgery, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it would “allow us to treat more patients faster and with better outcomes”.
Mrs Speirs said: “When you’re told you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it takes a while for that to really sink in as you never think it’s going to happen to you.”
After the procedure was explained to her in detail, she was happy to go ahead with the robotic surgery and said: “The technology is amazing and I was walking within days of my surgery.
“I wanted to start vacuuming when I got home from the hospital, but my daughter made sure I rested. It just goes to show you how great this is for recovery.”
Professor Roxburgh said: “Robotic surgery has already shown huge improvements in patient care and recovery times.”
He emphasized that the surgeon “still has absolute control of everything that is happening”, explaining that the doctor uses a console that controls the instruments.
Professor Roxburgh said with robotic surgery “we’ve seen a halving of the time patients have to stay in hospital compared to conventional keyhole surgery as it’s less invasive.
“In addition to this, it helps reduce complications, imaging assessments, blood transfusions, readmission rates and infections.
“Deborah is just one example of a number of successful surgeries using this type of equipment.”
Neil McCallum, NHS Greater Glasgow and North Clyde Sector Director, said: “This innovative technology allows us to reduce the amount of time a patient has to stay in hospital after their surgery.
“At a time when we are facing increasing pressures, it is great to highlight the extraordinary work our teams are doing and this procedure will allow us to treat more patients faster and with better outcomes.
“I would like to thank our teams who continually strive to provide the best possible treatment and care to our patients.”
David Marante, regional director of Intuitive, maker of the da Vinci surgical systems, praised the “commitment” of doctors there to “expand robotic-assisted surgery so more patients have access to minimally invasive care with our technology.” .
He said: “Our continued focus is to deliver technology training to more surgeons, trainees and care teams across Scotland as they grow their Da Vinci robotics programs with the aim of further reducing open surgery rates to improve patient outcomes and reduce the total cost of care.”