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NEWS: Surgical robot used to remove throat tumour for the first time

  • November 30, 2022

For the first time in the UK, a surgical team used a robot to remove a cancerous tumour from a patient's throat.

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital surgeons Simon Higgs and Steve Hornby employed the Versius robot to remove a tumour from Martin Nugent's oesophagus.

"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be standing here now," Mr Nugent said.

"To have been given a second chance to see my grandchildren, my children and my wife has meant so much to me."

Previously, operating on the oesophagus - which connects the mouth to the stomach - would have been performed through open surgery, with the surgeon making the incision manually.

Using the Versius surgical robot made it possible to operate on Mr Nugent using minimal access surgery.

Minimal access surgery creates smaller incisions, reduces post-operative pain, complications and scarring.

It also shortens the recovery time for patients.

"I was aware I was the first patient in the country to receive care in this way - it's astonishing really that this kind of thing is happening here in Gloucester," Mr Nugent added.

Mr Higgs, upper gastrointestinal (GI) consultant, said: "Upper GI is an extremely busy department and adopting Versius signifies a new era for the specialty, as many more patients will receive minimal access surgery."

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital started using the Versius robot last year, and with Mr Nugent's operation became the first NHS hospital in the country to start using it in upper GI surgery.

Mr Nugent added: "Last year I was in so much pain I couldn't eat any Christmas dinner.

"I'm thinking we'll make up for it this year and I'm just so grateful to be given the opportunity to enjoy another Christmas."