Image-guided robotic cancer surgery

Bringing together clinical and engineering expertise, and leveraging the integrated research and clinical facilities of the Imperial Surgical Innovation Centre, has led to the clinical translation of a low-barrier-to-entry innovative technological solution for image guidance in robotic cancer surgery.

By forging strong links with industry, prototype software was developed in collaboration with Fovia Inc., a market leader of high-definition volumetric rendering engines, to assist in the identification of complex renal vasculature and tumour anatomy during robotic partial nephrectomy.

Using standard preoperative imaging, the system allows 3D models to be spatially manipulated from within the da Vinci Surgical System’s robotic console alongside corresponding views of the operative scene.

Accurate appreciation of highly-anatomically variable regions can reduce the rate of adverse surgical events and makes minimally invasive nephron-sparing (as opposed to radical nephrectomy) more accessible for kidney cancer patients, leading to better patient outcomes and quality of life in the long-term.

The system addresses the sensory deficit resulting from an absence of haptic feedback, and the inadequate information pathways that exist between high-resolution pre-operative 3D medical imaging systems and surgical robotic platforms.

Over 100 cases have been performed at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and, through international collaboration, at the OLV-Clinic, Belgium. It has recently been showcased as part of the Worldwide Robotic Surgery 24 hour event, and is being deployed at the Royal Marsden Hospital. The system epitomises the translation-led research strategy, directing collaborative innovation towards substantive improvements in patient outcomes and safety. As such, industrial partners are keen to pursue opportunities for commercialisation.

  • Professor The Lord Ara Darzi
    Professor The Lord Ara Darzi
    Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery
  • NIHR Royal Marsden Biomedical Research Centre