First patient treated with robotic surgery on complex abdominal aortic aneurysm


St Mary’s Hospital, London, UK, announced the successful abdominal aortic aneurysm repair of the world’s first patient treated with the Magellan robotic system (Hansel Medical). 

The patient’s aneurysm was very close to the renal arteries for what he required a custom-made stent (fenestrated endograft). According to a St Mary’s Hospital press release, this complex surgery has never before been carried out using a surgical robot.

Nick Cheshire, consultant vascular surgeon and head of circulation and renal sciences at Imperial College Healthcare, said, “This new technology means a broader group of patients who have complex disease can now be operated on safely and less invasively.”

“Many patients are turned down for traditional open surgery because they are considered too high risk. By using the robot, we may be able to help these patients and also reduce the surgical trauma to their body and speed up recovery time.”

The Magellan robotic system is controlled from a console outside of the operating theatre. It shows an internal picture of the patient’s blood vessels on screen and allows the clinician to navigate through them with a flexible robotic catheter. The clinician can steer the catheter and manipulate its moveable tip and joints to access hard to reach parts of the patient’s anatomy. 

Mo Hamady, consultant interventional radiologist who operated the robot, said, “This technology means you have much more control during complex procedures such as this. Whereas surgeons would normally feed the catheter into the patient’s body by hand, the robot gives you greater precision so there is less risk of damage to the wall of the patient’s blood vessels and the procedure can be completed quicker.”

“For the clinician using the robot reduces your exposure to radiation in theatre,” continued Mo, “and the robotic catheter gives you greater stability and control when implanting surgical devices like a stent.”

In 2008 the team at St Mary’s performed the world-first robotic surgery with an earlier robotic system called the Hansen Sensei. The team was the first to use the Magellan robotic system in patients and has performed eight cases so far to treat diseases of the aorta and its branches.

Cheshire commented, “Here at St Mary’s we have pioneered the use of robotics in vascular surgery and have worked with Hansen Medical to develop this robotic system. The team aim to use the robot to develop expertise among clinicians at St Mary’s Hospital and to gather a base of clinical evidence to help patients in the future.”

“Hansen Medical’s new Magellan robotic system is the first such system specifically designed for peripheral endovascular interventions,” said Bruce Barcla, president and CEO, Hansen Medical. “It is designed to be the most flexible and versatile surgical robot available today, allowing physicians to use it for complex catheter procedures.”