The final patient has joined a Royal Surrey-led study exploring if robotically performed keyhole surgery can improve treatment for those with late-stage ovarian cancer. Doctors are now asking you – staff, patients and members of the public – to complete a five minute questionnaire telling them what you think of robotic surgery.
For more than a decade, Royal Surrey has been using robotic surgery in gynaecological oncology to operate, almost exclusively, on women with endometrial and cervical cancer. They have performed more than 1,500 procedures using a machine which has four arms with wristed instruments that move like a human hand.
This less intensive surgery has seen the average blood loss during operations drop from 700ml to 50ml and the average length of stay in hospital reduced from six days to one to two nights. Recovery time at home is also reduced, allowing many patients to start chemotherapy sooner.
But this technique isn’t the standard procedure for patients with late-stage ovarian cancer. Instead, cancerous cells are typically removed with an open surgical procedure called a laparotomy, which involves a 30 to 40cm long incision in the abdomen. Recovery time in hospital is around six days including time spent in intensive care.
The MIRRORS study – which stands for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery, Role in Optimal Debulking Ovarian Cancer, Recovery & Survival is assessing whether robotic surgery can help patients with late-stage ovarian cancer who have pelvic masses of no more than eight centimetres recover more quickly from surgery and be treated with chemotherapy sooner.
Led by Miss Christina Uwins, Surgeon and Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Robotic Gynaecological Oncology, working with Mr Simon Butler-Manuel, Consultant Surgeon in Gynaecological Oncology, the trial has recently completed its feasibility phase.
The team is now preparing to share their findings in October and, if these are positive, they hope to start a large-scale randomised study next year.
To help the research team understand how accepted robotic surgery is among health professionals and the community, Christina and Simon have set up a questionnaire.