According to leading South African urologists, most major urological operations will be done robotically, soon. The Urology Hospital Pretoria is the first institution in Africa to acquire a robotic surgical system in 2013. World-renowned surgeon at the Hospital, Dr Lance Coetzee, says that “as robotic technology evolves into smaller, sleeker machines, they can perform even more precise procedures, saving many more lives.” Dr Coetzee is the first urologist in the country to complete 1000 robotic procedures, “robotically-assisted surgery is minimally invasive and negates the tremendous morbidity of the large incision we would use for open surgery.”
Another top surgeon from The Urology Hospital has conducted more than 500 robotically assisted surgeries. Dr Dirk Ligthelm says that The Urology Hospital has pioneered robotic surgery in South Africa, focusing on the bladder, kidney and prostate. “Robotic surgery is expanding, and most major urological operations will be done robotically within the next few years. Already our robotic system is nearing capacity,” says Ligthelm as he remarks on the advantages of robotic surgery. Among these are a quick recovery period, fit to work sooner, regain confidence and sexual function soon.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. To ensure early detection, men are urged (from the age of 40) to have yearly prostate examinations – especially those with a family history of prostate cancer.
What does robotic surgery look like?
Robotic surgery is a technique used by surgeons to enhance the experience and outcome of critical surgical procedures. This technology makes it possible to reach distant and critical spaces with a very small incision. Beyond that, the procedure is less invasive, with accurate motions and increased magnification. The main parts include
- Console – a dashboard for operating surgeons to direct the movement of the device and camera.
- Lens – creates a 3D close-up of the area.
- Surgical arms – small tools and wrists to perform the operation. Provides 7 degrees of movement.
What are the advantages?
Robotic ‘urosurgery’ presents a number of advantages over conventional open surgical procedures. Some of the advantages for the patient includes:
- Smaller scars
- Quicker recovery time
- Shorter hospital stays
- Lower risk of infection
- Reduces pain during recovery
- Less blood loss
The myth goes that robotic surgeries are fully automated to carry out the procedure. This is completely false. According to Medanta, a surgeon operates the technology – always. There are even steps in places to prevent the robot from moving without command from the surgeon.
The advancements in robotic surgery has the left the medical field ecstatic for future developments. The field of urology is a leader in robot-assisted surgery!