A surgeon based at Lister Hospital in Stevenage has completed more than 1,000 robotic operations as a urology consultant – less than eight years after his first.
Mr Nikhil Vasdev, who is also associate medical director for cancer services at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, celebrated reaching the milestone with colleagues last week.
After completing his robotic fellowship accredited training with the Royal College of Surgeons of England at Lister and in California, USA, Mr Vasdev performed his first robotic operation as a consultant at the Stevenage hospital in August 2014.
Reflecting on that day, he said: “I had very strong support from my department including consultant urologists Mr Jim Adshead, Mr Tim Lane and Mr Greg Boustead, who had trained me.
“After completing my first two operations I ended up sleeping at the hospital as I didn’t want to go home – fortunately it went well for both patients and I sleep much better now!”
Specialising in both robotic prostrate and bladder cancer surgery, Mr Vasdev is part of the Trust’s urology department which was one of the early adopters of robotic surgery – beginning in 2008.
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has since invested in upgrades to the technology such as dual consoles so that trainees can see every step operating surgeons like Mr Vasdev take – training robotic surgeons of the future.
The Trust’s robotics programme has since expanded into the general surgical department in 2019 for operations on patients with colon or rectal cancer, the gynaecology department in 2020 and the ear, nose and throat department last year.
Robotic surgery has continued at Lister throughout the pandemic, with Stevenage resident Duncan McLean one of Mr Vasdev’s many patients during this time. After being diagnosed with bladder cancer, the 41-year-old had his bladder removed and a new one reconstructed using the small intestine – all through robotic surgery in June 2020.
After the operation, he said: “The whole experience was fantastic. I can’t sing the praises of my surgeon Mr Nikhil Vasdev enough – that man saved my life.
“With the dedication that he exhibits himself, you can see why he expects so much from his team – he takes professionalism to a whole new level. He would come in at the weekend to see me and I felt like number one, his top priority – and he was like that with all his patients. But it’s not just him, the whole team are amazing.”
Mr Vasdev is also a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire leading on robotic surgical and urology research, helping him pass on his expertise to others.
Asked what he is most proud of, he said: “Being able to continue to offer robotic cancer surgery throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the Lister international recognition, with our protocols developed for robotic surgery adopted worldwide.
“I have also enjoyed being a national and international robotics trainer – helping numerous centres in the UK, Europe and Asia develop skills to use the latest technology and improve patient outcomes.”