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The first patient to have received a robotic gastric bypass in Ireland had his operation performed by Mr William Robb, in November 2017 and has since lost over eight stone in weight since starting the bariatric weight loss programme in Blackrock Clinic.

Interestingly, the patient’s wife also underwent the surgery three weeks later, and together they have lost 13 stone in weight and have seen many health benefits, including the discontinuation of blood pressure medication, an improvement in sleep apnoea and no remaining symptoms of acid reflux.

The Gastric Bypass procedure involves dividing the stomach and forming a small gastric (stomach) pouch. The new gastric pouch is connected to varying lengths of the patient’s small intestine constructed into a Y-shaped limb (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass). Gastric Bypass surgery reduces portion sizes, as well as gently limiting calorie absorption by bypassing a section of the intestine and these two mechanisms  provide for enhanced weight loss.

Mr Robb used the clinic’s da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot, a €2.5m investment that offers surgeons enhanced vision, precision and control, due to a 3D HD view inside the body and wristed instruments that bend and rotate with flexibility far greater than the human hand.

The surgeon sits at a console controlling the robot which has four multi-jointed arms to hold an endoscopic camera and instruments. A high-definition, magnified 3D image is projected via the operating console to the surgeon, while theatre staff can also see the images on 2D theatre screens.

Potential patient benefits of using the robot over a typical procedure include a low complication rate, a shorter hospital stay and low levels of post-operative pain.

The da Vinci Xi is also used for gynaecology, urology, colorectal and thoracic procedures in Blackrock Clinic. “The options offered to surgeons through technology are growing exponentially.  As a high-tech hospital, our strategy is to have the newest technology which allows our surgeons to advance their procedures with the smallest incisions and the best patient outcomes,” said James O’Donoghue, CEO of Blackrock Clinic.

Blackrock Clinic has claimed that this was the first bariatric robotic surgery programme in Ireland, and the fifth in the UK and Ireland.