Robotic surgery – lending an arm to India’s finest doctors

October 18, 2017 Lifestyle Diseases 10742 Views


We have all seen robots take off in space shuttles or manning the spaceship. But would you trust one to assist your surgeon for the finest, precision-based surgery? Robotic surgery has been one of the greatest advancements in the field of medicine, in recent years, but why then are we faced with apprehension, raised eyebrows and that all too typical ‘fear of the unknown’?

Robotics simply means a surgical apparatus and system which enables the surgeon. It is very much like extending his own arm in the form of needles and scalpels. It is done to make surgery minimally invasive, with fewer scars, lesser blood loss, reduced recovery time and the like.

All about Robotic Surgery!

Primitive systems like Robodoc, Probot, and PUMA preceded today’s robotic system. But even these had gained widespread acceptance and were preferred over the traditional laparoscopic surgery. Tracing the roots of robotics even further, its genesis would be in the eighties. The time when NASA and Stanford’s researchers pooled their efforts to create a surgical system which would significantly enhance the dexterity of microscopic hand surgery. Its popularity grew with the US military backing it for combat casualty in battlefields. Remote controlled by the doctor, it aided the latter in temporizing and similar functions. Later, in the nineties,  the researchers created Urobot for laser prostatectomies which showed its presence on the medical front. Developed as a prototype robot, its use was limited. Then John Hopkins University developed  PAKY for percutaneous access to the kidney.

Urologists hailed robotic surgery and brought about a paradigm shift, taking laparoscopic surgery to another level. Next validation came in the form of robotic radical prostatectomy being the most common option for localized common cancer.And what can be further proof of its popularity than the fact that more than 70% of the radical prostatectomies in the US have been performed using these robotic arms, way back in 2008. India, too has been in the forefront of adopting this technological marvel. It was in July 2006 when the doctors performed the first robotic radical prostatectomy at the A.I.I.M.S, Delhi, setting the pace for over 200 more. No wonder then, several other fields  such as gynecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics, ENT, oncosurgery, cardiolog have adopted robotic surgery making waves with lung resections, endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting, valve repairs and even hysterectomies.

Some Advantages of Robotic Surgery

Another tremendous advantage is that robotics practically eliminates hand tremors and significantly reduces the scaling of movement. This is one of the reasons why doctors use robotics for delicate operations with lesser tissue damage as the outcome. Not just this, robotic surgeries automatically prevent or delay fatigue for surgeons in surgeries of longer duration. Not only robotic-assisted surgeries are ergonomically superior but also seem to reduce the learning curve for laparoscopic surgery.

Da Vinci Si surgical system, Mazor Robotics Renaissance, ECMO, Cellivizio – are few robotic systems which have heralded a new dawn in Indian hospitals where they are used.

In India, many hospitals have tried to make robotics an integral part of their services. However, its phenomenal cost can be a deterrent in many cases. Healthcare in India is on par with the best in the world. As robotics provides unparalleled dexterity and precision to the surgeon, robotic surgery fellowships in the country would greatly enhance the scope and practice of robotic surgery in India especially since training on home turf will generate better awareness about the benefits of robot-assisted surgery. More referrals would also contribute towards lowering costs as the cost per case would greatly reduce.

Shivam, a ten-year-old from Jharkhand was diagnosed fo tuberculosis in July 2014. But doctors performed a 2-hour robotic surgery for collapsed vertebra. The surgeyr till date is the first of its kind, for this condition. The surgery successfully treated his spinal cord which had compressed as well as the accumulation of pus. It was robotic surgery that augmented better visualisation, dexterity, comfort and precision for the surgeons. As for Shivam, it was robotic surgery which gave him a new lease of life.

For more information on Robotic Surgery contact a General Surgeon near you. 

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