Patients Undergo Britain’s First Robotic Kidney Transplants

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Two patients have made unprecedentedly speedy recoveries after becoming the first in Britain to have kidney transplants carried out by a robot. Surgeons at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London controlled the machine as it sewed up the patients’ kidneys through precise keyhole incisions in the body. The robot performed the transplants so meticulously and caused such limited damage to surrounding tissue that the patients were able to leave the hospital after just four days, needing only paracetamol to relieve the pain a couple of days after the surgery.

Patients undergoing traditional open surgery typically require morphine infusions for two or three days after the operation. Siobhan Morris, 42, one of the patients, who had previously received a kidney transplant by traditional open surgery, said the robotic transplant had caused her significantly less pain. “I was amazed,” she told The Sunday Times. “The pain is probably 80 per cent less than it was first time round because they cut through all the muscles before and they didn’t do any of that this time. It is so much easier.”

The other patient, 58-year-old Andy Brooks from Sussex, said his pain was relieved by tablets, initially strong painkillers and then paracetamol after a couple of days. Until now donated kidneys have been implanted into patients using open surgery. However, robots can operate through a small hole more quickly and precisely than humans, making keyhole surgery less painful and allowing patients to recover more quickly.

Nizam Mamode, consultant transplant surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We have been incredibly impressed with the difference in recovery.”

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