A TRAILBLAZING technology company that builds robots to help surgeons perform tricky procedures has launched its UK headquarters in the city and its futuristic machines are already being used on Oxford patients.

Intuitive officially opened the new base, which includes a state-of-the-art training centre, at Oxford Science Park on Tuesday.

The company specialises in robot-assisted surgery to allow for minimally invasive operations, meaning patients do not need open surgery and recover more quickly.

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General manager Phil Bradshaw said prostate cancer surgeries were among its biggest current use but it had applications in many areas.

He said: "Laparoscopic surgery, commonly known as key-hole surgery, is very difficult and we wanted to make that whole process easier so more people could benefit from it."

Oxford Mail:

Dr Freddie Hamdy and Dr Alastair Lamb from Oxford's Churchill Hospital. Picture: David Fisher

Mr Bradshaw said the company had focused on better visualisation and better precision for surgeons, who rather than holding long, narrow instruments inserted into the patient can operate robotic arms via a seated console.

A model guests were able to try on Tuesday was the Xi, which has up to four mechanical arms than can be inserted into the body and locked in place.

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One is a camera for the surgeon, which they can manually operate with a foot pedal, while the others acts as the doctor's hands.

Dr Alastair Lamb, senior fellow in robotic surgery and a consultant urologist at the Churchill Hospital was among those at the launch and said his team already uses an older model of the company's Da Vinci system.

He said: “They're not the only company who do this sort of thing but they are the biggest.

"It’s fantastic that we will have their UK base here, especially the training centre, which we have already been to use."

Oxford Mail:

Phil Bradshaw speaks at the launch of the Intuitive HQ at Oxford Science Park. Picture: David Fisher

Dr Lamb likened being able to train on the machines to logging flight simulation hours for pilots adding it would ensure skills remained high.

He added: "We think patients benefit from us using these machines, recovery time is certainly quicker."

Dr Freddie Hamdy, who heads the department added the Churchill was hoping to buy two additional Da Vinci machines in the coming months.

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Explaining the global firm's decision to move to Oxford, CEO Gary Guthart said: “Oxford is internationally renowned for medical and scientific innovation and we are proud to expand our collaboration with this community that we think will help us advance surgical innovation and improve patient outcomes."

“Oxford Science Park provides access to world-class engineering, science, and clinical expertise that will prove valuable as we deepen our work with the clinical community and health services in the UK and Ireland."

Currently, UK and Ireland hospitals are home to more than 85 Da Vinci surgical systems, which have been used in more than 85,000 procedures.