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‘Robot-assisted cancer surgery is more precise’

Post-operation recovery is faster, says doctor from Apollo Proton Cancer Centre.

The Apollo Proton Cancer Centre completed its first robot-assisted cancer procedure for colon cancer in a 40-year-old patient from Bangladesh recently.

The patient was discharged 48 hours after the procedure and post-surgery was uneventful, said Ajit Pai, senior consultant and lead surgeon, GI Oncology.

Dr. Pai demonstrated the machine, which uses an advanced robotics system. The machine, Da Vinci Surgical System, provides surgeons with a 3D image and enables them to reach areas that are humanly impossible to touch, he said.

The equipment, a fourth generation robotic system, can be used for complex surgeries.

It is especially useful to treat difficult cancers of solid organs, such as the liver or pancreas.

Remote operation

The surgeon operates the equipment remotely but gets a 10-times magnified view of the surgery itself.

The surgeon has total control of the surgical procedure. He sits at the console and manipulates the microfine instruments that are flexible and more manoeuvrable than the human hand.

With only small incisions being made, the patient does not exhibit scars or blood loss, he added.

The equipment not only increases precision but also reduces the patients’ hospital stay as recovery from major surgeries is quicker.

It reduces instances of infections as well, Dr. Pai added.

He said the machine was especially helpful as it enables surgeons to see blind areas or nerves and nodules in organs.

“It allows surgeons to undertake radical surgeries, it is more delicate and the operation is smoother. The patient recovers without damage to any critical structures and leaves without damage to healthy tissues,” he added.

When the method is used for pelvic cancer surgeries, it allows for quicker return of bowel movement, continence and faster return of sexual function, he said.

Rakesh Jalali, medical director and head, Radiation Oncology at the APCC, said patients were selected with care after consultation with a team of surgeons.

As for the cost of the procedure, using the equipment, specialists maintained that the cost was comparable to what was offered across the Apollo Hospitals group.

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