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The Da Vinci Code for robotic surgery

With an aim to transfer the technological knowledge of robotics in the field of healthcare, especially paediatric urology, a two-day workshop is being conducted for surgeons from across India. The event aims to expand the horizons of robot-assisted laproscopy.

The Da Vinci Code for robotic surgery
Dr V Sripathi and Dr Mohan S Gundeti at the workshop on robotics in healthcare


In a first-of-its-kind workshop, Apollo Hospitals is engaging close to 150 surgeons in the field from major cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vishakapathnam, Kochi, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. 

The surgeons are being taken through a master class by Dr Mohan S Gundeti from Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, a pioneer in the field, on the application of Da Vinci robot in paediatric robotic surgery. Six surgeries, including partial nephrectomy and ureteral reimplant at reduced or no cost are being carried out, apart from question and answer sessions and lectures. At least 50 surgeons will learn to operate the robot hands on and will be certified as well. 

Advantages of robot: 

Talking on the sidelines of the workshop, Dr Gundeti, said that technology had a number of advantages with quicker discharge time, minimal scarring and smaller incisions. “We have done a lot of analysis and outcome studies and they have shown that such surgeries have reduced morbidity, short recuperation time and offer human capital gain,” he says. 

Dr V Sripathi, senior consultant paediatric urologist and robotic surgeon, Apollo Children’s Hospital, who is leading the sessions with Dr Gundeti, added that clear guidelines would be laid down for an effective surgery that can help a lot of children in the country. While the technology has been used for more than 15 years now, it was in 2011 that Apollo Hospitals got four such robots to use them in their hospitals across the country. So far, more than 1000 procedures have been carried out. 

Dr Sripathi said, “Dr Gundeti has devised a robotic procedure for augmenting bladder in children. Someone who has a problem in the spine, cannot pass urine without a catheter. Plenty of children in the country have the problem. Instead of making a big cut in the abdomen, the robotic procedure makes multiple holes, takes a segment of intestine and expands the bladder. If we don’t expand it, it will result in renal failure.” 

Dr Gundeti, who also specialises in carrying out the robot-assisted surgery in infants, added that technology was neutral and operator-dependant. “One must understand that this cannot make up for lack of skills in the surgeon,” he said. 

The future, according to Dr Gundeti, would be using the robotic procedure to operate  on a child in Chennai, sitting in Chicago. “That could be possible in the coming decades,” he said. 

The role of robotics in Indian healthcare: 

There are 30 robotic units operational and according to industry figures, it is growing  at the rate of 18 per cent per year. Hence, there is more need for focussed training, said Dr Sripathi.

Da Vinci robot 

The technology was first used by NASA which employed robotic arms to fix a satellite. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, it is designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach, and is controlled by a surgeon from a console. 

Where can it be used 






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