Cancer man's bladder is replaced by robot at Bristol hospital
A man suffering from cancer has been given a new robotically-constructed bladder created from his own bowel.
Ken Harries, 61, from Bath, underwent the procedure, known as a radical cystectomy and neo-bladder, at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
Five small incisions were made to Mr Harries during the operation to remove his bladder and insert the substitute.
"You can hardly see a scar or anything, it's unbelievable, but that's the whole idea of the robotics," he said.
The operation - carried out by Southmead Hospital consultant urologists Edward Rowe and Anthony Koupparis - is the first of its type in the UK.
The procedure used to be performed manually in open surgery by surgeons creating a new bladder for cancer patients who had to have the organ removed.
The Bristol hospital is making neo-bladders robotically from the patient's own bowel tissue inside their body which function much as a normal bladder does.
Mr Rowe said: "Traditionally this is a major operation with a large incision but we hope that by using this minimal access route we can decrease the trauma to the patient.
"This enables them to obtain a faster recovery and return to normal activity.
"Patients can be home from hospital following this type of surgery within four to seven days and in six to eight weeks they can return to a normal quality of life.
"Our abilities to carry out urological procedures robotically is expanding all the time and we are developing a real expertise in this area."
The operation on Mr Harries took place in October and the father-of-two returned to work three months later.
"The only way I could look at the cancer was to say 'I am going to beat this', and I am so glad I decided to go through with the operation," he added.
The £1.5m robot - called Da Vinci - was first used in Southmead Hospital in 2008 for prostate removal.
Since then the hospital has carried out more than 600 prostectomies as well as the operation on Mr Harries.