Tallaght hospital’s ‘Leona’ robot surgeon completes first surgery

19 Oct 2020

From left: Angela Clayton-Lea, Douglas Collins, Mr Arun Thomas, Isam Odwan, and Lucy Nugent. Image: Tallaght University Hospital

Following a €2m investment from donors, Tallaght University Hospital has completed its first robot-assisted surgery.

A robot nicknamed ‘Leona’ by staff at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) has already made a big impact following its first successful surgery. The Da Vinci Surgical System was installed at the hospital following a €2m investment from donors. It enables surgeons to perform complex minimally invasive surgical procedures with greater precision and accuracy.

Leona was used to assist a radical prostatectomy last week, with robotically trained consultant urologist Arun Thomas in control. The hospital now expects the system will be able to assist surgeries for more than 200 patients annually.

During use, the operator sits at a console next to the patient and operates through small incisions using tined, wristed instruments. Using Leona, the surgeon’s hand movements are translated into the bending and rotating of the robot while performing the surgery.

‘A significant milestone’

The system also provides a highly magnified, 3D high-definition view of the surgical area instead of having surgeons standing and looking at a screen.

“Completing the first robotic assisted surgeries at TUH this week is a significant milestone in our continuous efforts to push the boundaries of the provision of healthcare to our patients,” said Prof Paul Ridgway, a consultant surgeon and perioperative clinical director at TUH.

“We are fortunate at TUH to have several robotically trained surgeons and nurses on staff so we were able to get Leona working almost immediately on her arrival. Leona’s arrival is a major step forward in driving innovation at TUH and providing our patients with cutting-edge technology to ensure the best outcomes from their surgery.”

Douglas Collins, chief executive of the TUH Foundation, added: “Thanks to our generous donors and the support of our partners in Bartra Capital Group and Philip Lee, TUH Foundation is proud to have delivered this innovative robotic programme known as Da Vinci Surgical System for the benefit of TUH and its patients that brings TUH in line with leading hospitals internationally.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic