Milltimber man on his bike to fund first surgical robot

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A Milltimber grandfather has proved the success of an operation he underwent for prostate cancer by cycling 1000 miles.

He travelled from Dover to Cape Wrath and raised £2500 towards the purchase of Scotland’s first surgical robot for Aberdeen.

Nigel Taylor decided to use his private medical insurance to be treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, after he discovered to his amazement that Scotland does not currently have a robot for the state-of-the-art surgery, and he has now added his weight to the Robotic Surgery North Scotland (RSNS) campaign which is being spearheaded by local urological cancer charity UCAN. It aims to raise a further £1.5million as there are already 40 hospitals in England which have robotic surgical systems.

Nigel, who is managing director of Viking Supply Ships, covered 85 miles a day during his 995 mile cycle ride accompanied by seven other riders and two support crew.

He said: “The ride was hard work but brilliant and we had great weather for all but two days (when) the leg from Kinlochewe to Ullapool on day 12 was very wet and cold and pedalled the rough track to Cape Wrath lighthouse while battling against howling wind and driving rain.

‘‘My ride buddy was a retired butcher from Bristol, Anthony Webb. We kept each other company every day, supported each other when the going got tough, and became good friends.”

He said that the whole team got on brilliantly, though they all agreed it was a harder route than Lands End to John o’ Groats (which he had previously covered raising £2000 for charity). He said the two support crew were great, adding: “My legs are slowly recovering but I am pleased to have raised so much for the campaign to bring robotic surgery to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.”

Robotically-assisted surgery, considered to be the future for surgical procedures, is widely used now across the USA and Europe, being particularly beneficial for patients with prostate, bowel, rectal and gynaecological cancers and non-malignant conditions, and with potential to be used in other specialities such as cardiac and paediatric surgery.

The robotic equipment mimics a human hand and is controlled remotely by a surgeon who sits a few feet away watching a magnified 3D high definition video of the operation on screen.

This allows very delicate and complex procedures to be carried out with relative ease.