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Medical robots – a bright light for patients in the world

A surgical team in South Africa led by Dr Tim Forgan used the da Vinci XI robot to assist in removing a cancerous tumour from a patient at Tygerberg public hospital in Cape Town.

The robot has four ‘arms’ and is controlled in real-time by a medical professional via an immersive 3D consul. Da Vinci XI “is the most technologically advanced surgical robot that’s currently available on the market. What they’re designed for, what they do is they allow you to work very finely and with great precision and they magnify the image that you see a lot more than normal laparoscopic stats,” Dr Forgan said.

“We can see much more detail and then the instruments, you can manoeuvre with a lot more accuracy and do finer work and get a better result so you can preserve more organs that way,” he added.

Our da Vinci SP surgical system allows urology and transoral surgeons to enter the body through a single, small incision or no incision at all. Discover more about who we are and what inspires us to advance what's possible in minimally invasive care:

— Intuitive (@IntuitiveSurg) July 11, 2022

Da Vinci XI functionality

The system is being used mainly for complex type procedures such as colorectal, urology gynaecological and hepatobiliary surgeries.

“Flexible, modular da Vinci systems feature a standard user experience that may help drive reproducible outcomes. With integration of our multifaceted vision technologies, energy systems, stapling, and instruments, we’re continuing to invent new ways to help transform MIS (Minimally Intrusive Surgery),” Intuitive, the producer of the robot stated on their official website.

The da Vinci XI also significantly decreases the time of the patients’ recovery.

The first operation with the new robot occurred at Tygerberg hospital in February this year, with dozens more successfully completed since then. Dr Forgan pointed out that the time was first decreased to five days due to “key-hole surgeries” and now the time was decreased even further, “we remove big cancers and three days later you’re at home,” he said.

Technology should enhance a surgeon's ability and help them make better-informed decisions. Da Vinci systems give surgeons precision, flexibility, and control to perform many procedures while offering real-time feedback so they can operate with confidence.

— Intuitive (@IntuitiveSurg) July 19, 2022

COVID-19 adjustments

Two years ago, the hospital also introduced a robot on wheels called ‘Khanya’ during the COVID-19 peak to help patients connect with their relatives via video or voice call.

Family members can dial into ‘Khanya’ and ‘visit’ patients remotely. Doctors and nurses use a phone app to steer the robot in and out of hospital wards to make it convenient for patients to easily communicate and request the help they need from hospital staff.

Da Vinci in Poland

“With a population of more than 37 million, there are currently 18 centres in Poland where operations are performed using authorised da Vinci robotic systems (17 robots). These are mostly urological, gynaecological and general surgery procedures. In total, more than 2,000 such operations were performed in 2021,” said Artur Ostrowski, Managing Director of da Vinci at Synektik, the supplier of the robots for Poland.

According to the Polish Hospital Federation, “there are a total of more than 6,700 da Vinci surgical systems installed worldwide in 69 countries, and approximately 55,000 surgeons have been trained to work with the robot. To date, more than 10 million procedures have been performed with this robotic system worldwide.”

The first operation using the da Vinci system in Poland was performed in 2010.

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