First person in Wales undergoes pioneering robotic surgery

Denise Casey, who has epilepsy, has become the first person in Wales to undergo pioneering robotic surgery (BBC News, 2017).

The robot, built by Renishaw in Rhondda Cynon Taff, implanted probes into the woman’s brain. Denise Casey, of Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of thirty one and has had up to six fits a day for the past twenty years. She said the preliminary success of the operation, previously not possible, “offered hope” to others.

The robotic arm allows surgeons to operate on epilepsy sufferers who were previously untreatable. It is far more accurate at placing probes into a patient’s brain and reduces the operating time significantly.

Denise Casey has not suffered any fits since her operation in March and said her life had “improved 100%”. Before the operation she couldn’t go out on her own because having a seizure would leave her not knowing where she was. She said “It’s been remarkable, they said it was a robot and you think of something like that in the films. I know it’s only been a couple of weeks, but so far it has been wonderful.”

The surgeon who operated, William Gray, a professor of functional neurosciences at Cardiff University, said the robotic arm had “phenomenal accuracy”. He said the operation would normally take more than four hours, but with the robotic arm it took fifty five minutes. He said “I think it’s a major step forward, this robot puts the instrument in the right place.”

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