Thursday, June 30

Ready to take a tech leap, SSKM to start robotic surgery

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The state’s biggest referral hospital, SSKM, is set to take a technological leap ahead and join elite healthcare institutions in the country with the introduction of robotic surgery early next year. It will be the first state hospital in the region to have the cutting-edge surgical procedure, considered at least doubly more precise than conventional surgeries.

Discussions are on with a manufacturer in the US for a robotic system and work is in progress to set up three operation theatres for robotic surgery at the under-construction outpatient department building. The machine, which uses the latest and the most sophisticated technology, could replace several conventional laparoscopic procedures at SSKM that require deep incision.

It would be a major leap towards extending one of the best healthcare facilities to all, said IPGMER professor of surgery Diptendra K Sarkar. “Robotic surgeries are ideal for procedures that require deep incisions. These include prostate operation, surgeries for prostate cancer, rectal cancer, low-colonic cancer and oesophageal surgeries. Robotic arms are precise and as they eliminate tremor of hands, any experienced surgeon can use them to conduct a successful operation. This technology is a marriage of artificial intelligence with the human brain and was so far, accessible to just a few at some private hospitals,” said Sarkar. Apollo Gleneagles and Tata Medical Centre are the only hospitals in the region that offer robotic surgery.

Several SSKM surgeons recently took part in a demonstration organized by the manufacturer and used the machine. “Ours is a fourth-generation machine, which is extremely sophisticated. We are waiting for the formalities to be over to deliver the machine in four weeks. Since SSKM plans to use it to teach students as well, they may need an extra console,” said a representative of Intuitive, the manufacturer.

Named Da Vinci, the machine has three parts: a console with a screen from where the system is controlled, a patient cart that has three robotic arms and the vision cart that has the central processing unit of the system. While the operating surgeon sits at the console in one corner of the OT, the patient cart is placed near it. Before a procedure can start, several incisions have to be made into the patient, including one to insert a camera to focus on the point of surgery. The robotic arms are then inserted through other holes, a process termed ‘docking’. “It is like playing a video game. The surgeon’s fingers will have sensors attached to them and he will guide the arms by moving fingers on the screen. Unlike a laparoscopic surgery, the robotic camera offers a 3D image of the internal organs that enhances the precision. More importantly, the machine that is going to be used offers a superimposition of ultrasonographic images on the live picture, which lets a surgeon have the best possible view and location of the point of surgery,” said Sarkar. This apart, the machine reduces the risk of a surgery, hastens recovery, and has an in-built sealer that repairs the bleeding vessels. In laparoscopic surgeries, a separate instrument is used for it.

The system offers ‘augmented reality’, which navigates the robotic arms accurately through veins and arteries and enhances precision. It being “intuitive”, the robotic arms move in the direction in which the surgeon moves his fingers, unlike a laparoscopic instrument.


Source: Times of India

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