Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has become the first UK trust to pioneer the newest surgical robot, the Hugo robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) system, from Medtronic.  

The adoption of Hugo into the largest robotic surgery programme in the UK brings the number of robots at the trust to seven, with the machines operating across six specialties. In March this year, a team from Guy’s and St Thomas’ became the first in the world to use RAS to operate through a patient’s mouth 

Ben Challacombe, clinical lead for robotic surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We carry out the most robotic operations in the NHS with more than 1,500 cases a year. Expanding our robotics programme with Hugo allows us to offer the benefits of this technology, including fewer complications and smaller scars, to even more patients.” 

Medtronic is prioritising making minimally-invasive surgery accessible to more people globally. As a result, it is focusing on building a full ecosystem of robotics and digital solutions for the operating room.  

As with other robotic-assisted surgery systems, the Hugo brings a number of benefits to patients – including fewer complications and reduced length of hospital stays. In addition, it also brings wristed instruments to surgeons, as well as high-definition 3D visualisations to help them perform their surgeries.  

During a procedure with Hugo, the surgeon sits at an open console, which displays the 3D view, allowing surgeons to precisely control the robotic arms and instruments. Only tiny incisions are made to the body – through which the hi-tech surgical tools and a state-of-the-art camera are inserted.  

George Murgatroyd, vice president and general manager, digital technologies, surgical operating unit, at Medtronic, said: “We’re honoured to partner with Ben Challacombe and the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to lead a forward-thinking approach to working with robotics and digital solutions in the operating theatre, in support of our mission to expand access to care to more patients around the world.” 

To ensure that surgeons at Guy’s and St Thomas’ are highly trained in the system, the trust has also partnered with Proximie to support surgical training on the Hugo RAS system.

The Proximie platform allows surgeons to observe live surgeries without the need to be physically present, as well as access recordings of previous surgeries.