Experts say that robotic surgery has major implications in cancer treatment. A distinct advantage is rapider recovery from such surgery.
It was urology that brought in robotic surgery technology initially, but now it has been adopted across specialities, like gynaecology, head and neck and colorectal surgeries, said Dr Ananthakrishnan Sivaraman, Consultant Laparoscopic-Robotic Urologist, Apollo Hospitals. Speaking at an event organised by the Vattikuti Foundation on Friday, he said, “People need to be told, though, that robotic surgeries do not mean that they are being operated upon by a robot. Robots are just an interface between the surgeon and the patient.” With a microscopic view available through it, four arms and improved precision, the technology is now being increasingly used in cancer surgeries.
He also added that the surgery came with a number of advantages like faster recovery, less blood loss, less pain and fewer complications. “We are able to remove just the cancerous tissues in the kidney in the case of kidney cancer. Similarly, recovery for patients, who have undergone surgery for prostate cancer, is quicker,” he added.
Some of the cancers that involve opening of the pelvis, a bony area, can be carried out more effectively due to the instruments involved in robotic surgeries, as these can articulate better when compared to laparoscopy. Dr Anupama R, Associate Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, said that she performed around 1314 robotic surgeries a month. “We have been seeing a number of cases of uterine cancer, for which the robotic technology is used. A 84-year-old lady, who underwent robotic surgery for the cancer was able to recover and fly to the US in less than 15 days,” she said.
Dr Venkatesh Munikrishnan, Consultant-Colorectal Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, said that removing the tumour and restoring the normal route in the rectum is now possible due to the technology.
“In other options, a colostomy pouch becomes uncomfortable for a woman who has to drape a sari every day,” he adds.
The Vattikutti Foundation, which has been increasing the facility’s reach in India since the last five years, has plans of extending the technology to hospitals in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, apart from setting up a training centre for surgeons to gather expertise in the technology.