Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) in the UK has launched its first surgical robotics programme with the implementation of CMR Surgical‘s Versius robotic system at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) hospital.

Versius is said to be the first surgical robot being used for minimal access surgery at the hospital. Initially, the robotic system will be used to carry out colorectal cancer surgery.

Colorectal surgery is known to be complex and takes several hours to complete. Robotic keyhole surgery is expected to enable less strenuous procedure for surgeons and faster recovery time for patients.

At Manchester Royal Infirmary, the new robotic procedure is estimated to equate to hundreds of bed days freed up annually.

Manchester Royal Infirmary consultant colorectal and general surgeon Nicholas Stylianides said: “Today, more than ever, it is vital that we are able to minimise complications from surgery and help patients recover quickly – keeping them well and out of hospital.

“Using robotic minimal access surgery more frequently will play an important role in this and Versius will therefore be a critical tool for our surgical teams moving forward.”

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Versius is designed to be portable and modular, allowing easy movement between operating theatres, where it requires an average of 15 minutes for set up.

One Versius robot is said to be able to perform hundreds of operations per year. It can be integrated into existing workflows.

CMR Surgical chief medical officer Mark Slack said: “A main goal when we designed Versius was that we wanted to significantly widen access to minimal access surgery – allowing far more patients to benefit than currently do.”

Versius was introduced in the UK in February this year at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust.

More global launches are expected shortly. Last year, Galaxy Care Hospital in Pune, India, deployed Versius.