Press release
Published: 18 April 2018

Experts in robotic gynaecological surgery come to Surrey

The world’s leading gynaecology experts will be descending upon Surrey this week for the eighth annual British and Irish Association of Robotic Gynaecological Surgeons Conference, organised by the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Surrey.

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The conference will take place at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey from today (Wednesday 18 April) until Friday 20 April.

Gynaecology consultants, junior doctors, physicians, assistants and nurses will spend the three days experiencing new technologies, learning new techniques and discovering new research from the field of Gynaecological Robotic Surgery.

The conference comes as the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust celebrates its 1,000th successful robot assisted gynaecological case. The world-class team from the Hospital have been using Da Vinci robots for nearly a decade – purchasing its first robot in 2009 and upgrading them in 2015 – for conditions such as bladder, prostate, cervix and uterine cancers.

Dr Kavitha Madhuri, Senior Trainee in Gynaecological Oncology at the Royal Surrey Country Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Robotic surgery has revolutionised how we care for our patients. As the country prepares to care for an ageing population, as well as those with medical co-morbidities including obesity, we believe robotic surgery offers women with gynaecological cancer a safer care journey, with just overnight inpatient stays and improved outcomes.

“Just last week we discharged a patient in her late 80s after a robotic hysterectomy and she was amazed that she did not need any painkillers at all.”

At the conference, Dr Chakravarthini Mini Saaj, a robotics expert from the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, will be showcasing the “GENTLER (Gynaecological ENdoscopic uTerine eLEvatoR)” – a soft robotic add-on to the Da Vinci.

Current robotic techniques used in minimally invasive female pelvic surgery rely heavily on manipulating and (re-)positioning the uterus. The GENTLER system, inspired by an octopus, allows full control of the mechanism with smart force and position sensors.

Dr Chakravarthini Mini Saaj, Reader in Robotics and Director of the Post Graduate Research Programme at the Surrey Space Centre, said: “This project is very close to my heart as this is a project led by women to protect women undergoing complex gynaecological procedures worldwide. It facilitated our first collaborative medical robotics project with the Gynaecology department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. If we succeed in undertaking clinical trials and get approval from various medical regulatory bodies, we believe our product could help women, not only in this country, but across the world.”

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