By: 9 June 2021
HCA Healthcare UK becomes first hospital group to train a robotic surgeon in the independent sector

Following six months of specialist training, Mr Denis Tsepov has led 27 successful complex robotic operations for severe endometriosis and brought together a multidisciplinary robotic surgery team at the London-based Endometriosis Robotic Centre

Private medical provider HCA Healthcare UK has become the first hospital group in the UK to train a robotic surgeon entirely in the independent sector, using the da Vinci® Xi™ System.

From September 2020, Mr Denis Tsepov, a Consultant Gynaecologist who specialises in complex gynaecological cases, underwent a specialist robotics training programme at The Princess Grace Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK), empowering him with the skills needed to perform robotic-assisted surgery on patients with complex benign gynaecological conditions, such as deep endometriosis and fibroids. No other private sector hospital in the UK has trained a surgeon to use robotics for gynaecological surgery to date.

The programme involved a series of exercises, including virtual simulation training, e-learning, face-to-face training, lab teaching, and, finally, supervised patient cases. Throughout the programme, Mr Tsepov received statistical assessments of his learning curve, peer reviews, and was proctored by Mr Tony Chalhoub – a national leader in robotic gynaecology.

Following the completion of his training in April 2021, Denis Tsepov and his colleague expert colorectal robotic surgeon  Mr. Jim Khan recently performed a successful unique operation : discoid bowel resection for deep infiltrating endometriosis using the da Vinci® Xi™ System, on a 21-year-old female patient who had suffered a decade of painful and debilitating symptoms. Mr Tsepov and Mr Khan believe this was the first robotic operation of this kind performed in the UK.

Mr Tsepov has also brought together a multidisciplinary team at the Endometriosis Robotic Centre, which is located at The Princess Grace Hospital. This is the first BSGE (British Society of Gynaecological Endoscopy) registered purely robotic private endometriosis centre  in the UK.

During the procedure the surgeon guides the robot using a nearby console, which allows them to improve overall efficiency and precision when carrying out the surgery, compared to a more traditional laparoscopic approach.

Speaking of the training, Mr Denis Tsepov says:“It is important to be efficient, safe and precise in the type of surgery that I specialise in, and surgical robots are designed for just that.

“I have found that they make surgical work feel much simpler, by providing improved visualisation and access, and making you feel calmer and more comfortable during surgery.

“These are sophisticated and advanced instruments, which offer a huge opportunity for the gynaecological sector. I’m excited to be part of this new robotic era, and to see how gynaecological surgeries will evolve over time with their usage.”

Kathryn Oakland, Head of Robotics at HCA Healthcare UK, says: “HCA UK recognises the vital role of robotics in the future of surgery. It is an area that is rich in innovation and we are passionate to marry this with the highest governance standards to lead the way in bringing minimally invasive surgery to many more patients.

“To have trained the first robotic surgeon in the independent sector is a fantastic milestone in our established programme, and we will continue to do more in this space so that we can retain a leading role in patient access to innovation.

“In addition to continuing gynaecology robotics training, there are plans for HCA Healthcare UK to expand its robotic training programme to include general surgery as well – including the treatment of colorectal conditions and hernias.”

The robotics training programme is guided by the HCA UK Robotics Steering Committee, to ensure that latest innovations in training are continuously embedded in the programme. Surgeons, like Mr Tsepov, are selected extremely carefully to represent the best in their respective specialties, using their prior experience and clinical outcomes.




Call: 0207 0251 363