Ever fancied visiting an operating theatre whilst surgeons are doing their stuff?

Lesley Booth, our PPI for Bowel & Cancer Research, spent five hours observing an operation take place which used the latest in robot technology.


The patient had an aggressive tumour on the left side of her colon which, if not removed, would prove fatal. The robotic surgery techniques used are new and are proving exceptionally successful at saving lives - which is what Bowel & Cancer Research is all about.

Here's how the operation at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel went.   

First, colorectal surgeon Mo Thaha and his team inserted an endoscope to discover where the tumour was. They squirted black die into the patient which created an outline on the computer screen. Then they marked the patient with a marker pen and attached probes.

Surgeon Mo sat at a console watching a 3D screen. A scrub nurse and a registrar stood either side of the patient. Two anaesthetists stood at her head.  

The surgeon then began the incisions, guiding the probes by remote control. At every step he stopped to check with the registrar that what was happening on screen tallied with the real thing. 

The tumour and two sections of colon were removed. The two ends of the remaining colon were stitched together.

The whole procedure took five hours, with just a 5-minute break, and was fascinating from start to finish. The levels of concentration were palpable. 

Bowel & Cancer Research has funded the work of Mo Thaha in the past and we were grateful to be allowed to see him in action.

It's good to know that this patient is likely to recover because her cancer was detected early enough.

9 in 10 people will survive when it’s caught at stage one for 5 years or more. This is among the very best of any cancer statistic. Read more about bowel cancer symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis here.

Lesley appeared on ITV News on 20th February in a feature about the surgical robots which have been hailed by doctors as "a leap forward in surgical precision."