Six-year-old is the first child to benefit from the FlexDex device during keyhole surgery

Posted on Wednesday 26th June 2019
Evelina London patient, Alexander, with his mother, Estera.

Evelina London patient, Alexander, with his mother, Estera.

Surgeons at Evelina London have become the first in the UK to use a new, innovative medical device during keyhole surgery on a child.

Evelina London surgeons have used a novel surgical instrument, known as FlexDex, during keyhole surgery to unblock the kidney of a patient with a condition called hydronephrosis, where one or both kidneys become swollen. Keyhole surgery is a type of surgical procedure that allows surgeons to access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without making large incisions.

Mr Massimo Garriboli, our consultant urologist, who performed the operation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the first hospital in the UK to use the FlexDex device during kidney keyhole surgery on a child."

The surgery was performed on Alexander Pasek, 6, from Blackheath in south east London, at the end of last year. He was diagnosed with hydronephrosis in July 2018 after it was detected by chance when he was hospitalised in Poland with another medical condition. 

Alexander’s mother, Estera, said: “We were very surprised when we found out Alexander had hydronephrosis as he had no symptoms. Thankfully the condition was diagnosed in good time and is now being treated.

“We were very excited when we were told that Alexander was the first child in the UK to be operated on with this new device.”

“Alexander’s recovery has been fantastic. He spent three days in hospital after the operation, but he recovered very quickly. He had his energy back by the time he was discharged and was fully back to playing and running around a week after the surgery.

“The doctors have been very impressed by how well he has recovered. Tests show that his kidney is currently functioning normally, which is really great news.”

FlexDex is a needle holder that is worn on the surgeon’s wrist. The device is used during surgical stitching and is controlled from outside the patient’s body by the surgeon’s hand, arm and wrist movements. This means that surgery is less invasive and can be performed more efficiently.

Mr Massimo Garriboli said: “The FlexDex device is at the cutting edge of surgical innovations as it enables surgeons to have much better control and flexibility when performing keyhole surgery.

“This means that the procedure is less invasive and more efficient than other traditional methods, which reduces tissue damage and scarring and aids the patient’s recovery.

“The device is controlled by the surgeon’s hand and follows the movement of the arm and wrist, which is similar to robotic surgery. It’s a game-changer for keyhole surgery and has the potential to be used for other procedures and more complex cases.

“It’s very fitting that we have become the first hospital in the UK to use the device in this way as Evelina London celebrates its 150th anniversary. Our staff are committed to finding and developing the very best treatments for our patients.”

Our Evelina 150 Stories

This article is part of a series of Evelina 150 Stories that we are sharing in celebration of our special 150th anniversary year.

150 years ago, Evelina London was born out of love, when Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild founded the hospital in memory of his wife, Evelina. Since 1869, we've been saving lives, improving health and inspiring better futures.