The James Cook University Hospital's pioneering use of robotic surgery for heart and lung conditions has helped achieve a first for Africa.
Middlesbrough cardiothoracic surgeon and lung cancer specialist Joel Dunning has helped to oversee the first cardiothoracic robotic procedure on the continent at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
Surgeons benefit from 3D vision of the procedure as well as hand and foot controls to control the instruments.
This enhanced precision helps reduce side effects and the length of time patients need to stay in hospital.
Separately, three months ago a UK heart team led by consultants from James Cook visited Ghana to perform life-saving operations in for a third time.
The team gave up their holidays to take the trip to hospitals in Accra and Kumasi on this year’s mission, which saw them helping several patients who required cardiac surgery and upskilling the Ghanaian team to perform more advanced procedures.
A new home for heart research on Teesside
And if that wasn’t enough, the James Cook team is also working with two local charities to raise £650,000 to create a new home for heart research on Teesside.
Speaking about his role in helping to oversee the African continent’s first a cardiothoracic robotic surgery procedure, Joel Dunning said: “Robotic surgery first came to Teesside in 2014. It revolutionised treatment by making it possible for surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery with greater precision and control than ever before.
“In 2020, The James Cook Hospital become one of only three NHS trusts in the country to have three of its own surgical robots which are now used across a range of specialities including, cardiology, urology, thoracic services, gynaecology, general surgery, ear, nose and throat and maxillofacial services.
"Being invited to help oversee Africa's first cardiothoracic robotic procedure was a tremendous honour and speaks to the James Cook Hospital's strong ties with the continent, and our position at the leading edge of UK robotic surgery."