FRIMLEY Hospital has become one of a handful of medical facilities in the country to use a new surgical robot.

The robotic system, Versius, is being used for keyhole surgery mostly for cancer, including kidney and bowel, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.

The portable and versatile system means that the hospital can vastly increase the amount of keyhole surgery it performs.

Henry Tilney, consultant colorectal surgeon at Frimley Health, said: “The introduction of Versius is a major step forward as we seek to maintain our centre as a leader in surgical robotics and make this technology a routine part of clinical practice.

“Our intention is that it will be used to help perform a range of surgical procedures, including complex cancer cases, allowing us to offer the benefits of minimal access surgery to our patients, which include faster recovery times and reduced risk of infection.

“Versius gives us the ability to use this technique for hundreds more patients than has been previously possible.”

Local resident Susan Cleverly, 71, had an operation at Frimley Hospital using Versius to remove a cancerous tumour from her bowel and was home after two days.

“I was told it would be done by this robot and didn’t think much of it,” Susan said.

“I felt so good afterwards, with a little discomfort and no pain. You go in for this big operation and when you come round it doesn’t feel like that.”

Susan had been told to be prepared for having to have a colostomy bag but this wasn’t necessary.

“I was so relieved,” she said.

Susan, who retired 10 years ago from working as a science laboratory assistant at a private school, said she has an active life, with lots of walking, including regularly taking her daughter’s dog for a walk.

“She was all ready for me to be having chemotherapy and not being very well, and I’m really pleased not to have to have gone through that,” Susan said.

The cancer was diagnosed in early June and the operation was eight weeks later.

Blood tests have shown that the cancer has not spread, so Susan will need no follow-up treatment but will have to have scans for the next five years, which is routine in such cases.

Versius has been developed by CMR Surgical Ltd, a global surgical robotics business.

Mark Slack, the CMR chief medical officer, said: “We are delighted that a well-established surgical robotics centre such as Frimley Health has chosen to expand its surgical robotics programme with Versius.

“In designing Versius our goal was to provide a versatile, portable and cost-effective surgical robotic system that could transform the field of minimal access surgery, allowing more patients to benefit than currently do.

“The introduction of Versius at Frimley Health does just that, and crucially at a time when patients, surgeons and hospitals are facing unexpected health and economic challenges.”

A CMR spokesman said that Versius is being used at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes University Hospital and Manchester University NHS Foundation, and in hospitals around the world.

“Versius is portable, modular, and designed to be easily moved between operating theatres. Once in an operating theatre, it takes an average of 15 minutes to set up the system.

“This allows it to be used frequently, with one Versius robot capable of performing hundreds of operations each year.”