Robotic surgeons team up to tackle cancer 

Robotic surgical team at St Mark's Hospital
Robotic surgical team at St Mark's Hospital

Surgeons from two London hospitals carried out consecutive procedures within one theatre session removing cancerous tumours from a patient’s bowel and liver.

Consultant colorectal surgeon Danilo Miskovic from St Mark’s Hospital and Long Jiao, a consultant in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery from Hammersmith Hospital, employed the use of robotic surgery for the first time during the five hour back-to-back procedures at St Mark’s Hospital in north London.

It is the first unit in the country with an established joint robotic programme for bowel and liver operations. 

Advanced cases of bowel cancer become increasingly difficult to treat with cancerous cells being filtered through the liver where they take root and grow new tumours. 

Danilo Miskovic said: “Patients traditionally undergo two operations, one for the bowel and one for the liver, separated by several months of chemotherapy. In some patients both can be done in the same session, but it’s a big operation.

“The robot allowed us to remove both tumours in one go from a patient in his 30s. I used the same surgical entry ports left by Long which minimises unnecessary blood loss and trauma.

“My job was to remove the section of colon with the main tumour and reconnect the bowel, while Long removed the liver tumour, by cutting out a part of the liver. The liver will then re-grow within a few weeks”

St Mark’s long-term goal is to become the UK’s premier training centre for robotic surgeons specialising in bowel cancer and other diseases of the colon and rectum.

It plans to set up a National Training and Education Hub on the back of the existing St Mark’s Academic Institute which trains and offers education courses and seminars for up to 1,000 people a year.