It may soon become a handy surgical tool even in smaller cities

New Delhi: The outreaching arms of da Vinci surgical robot is all set to embrace Indian surgeons, all and sundry.

Endorsed to be the gold standard tool of surgery by veritable Who’s Who of Indian surgeons, da Vinci, the monopoly company of surgical robots, is in the throes of an ambitious expansion plan. With road shows along with a roving surgical robot, da Vinci is ready to make its presence felt throughout the country.

On the roll, six months on a trot from the launch, the majestic machine perched on wheels, would be making rounds of country’s tier 2 and 3 cities to sensitize surgeons at large about the superiority of the tool. It wants to replicate its supreme success in metros in smaller towns and cities too.

The aim clearly is to edge out laparoscope from its current position of pre eminence and occupy the centre stage of surgery. Given its accuracy, precision and its ability to give a high comfort level to the surgeon, da Vinci is cocksure surgical robots would be ubiquitous in India in times to come. Training being of utmost importance, the company has also unveiled its training programme for surgeons wanting to embrace robot as a tool. Since July 2016, Amrita Hospital in Kochi has trained over 100 multi-specialty surgeons from India and neigh boring countries.

A battery of renowned robotic surgeons flagged off the roving da Vinci chariot stationed in hotel Taj Mansingh on June 30. Dr Arvind Kumar, Director, Institute of Robotic Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Gagan Gautam, Head of Urologic Oncology & Robotic Surgery, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Dr. N.P. Gupta, Chairman, Kidney & Urology Institute, Medanta,  Dr Rama Joshi, Director, Gynae Oncology Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, all vouched for the supremacy of surgical robot as a tool. They underlined the need to make robotic surgery a rule rather than exception because according to them, the outcome of surgery, especially in cancer patients, is the best.

The Roving Robot will travel to Dehradun, Rishikesh, Muzaffarnagar, Bhopal, Indore, Raipur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Vizag, Rajamundry, Vijayawada, Ongole, Tirupati, Vellore, Trichy, Madurai, Trivandrum, Kochi, Calicut, Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli, Belgaum and Goa.

Dr. Arvind Kumar, undeniably a wizard of robotic surgery in India, counted the benefits of robotic surgery in areas of specialisation. Talking to Medicare News, he said, ‘In addition to being most accurate and precise, surgery by robot causes far fewer traumas compared to other tools in currency. From surgeon’s point of view also, it is the best one possible tool so far. The surgeon happens to be in full control throughout the operation.’

Dr. Arvind further said, ‘the best thing about robotic surgery is the comfort level a surgeon gets sitting on the console of the robot, place from where he navigates the tool. Console is a cosy place for him. Throughout the procedure, I feel like I am lounging somewhere. The robot does biddings of surgeons at the flick of their nimble fingers on joy sticks. Given the tortuousness of laparoscopic instruments, robotic surgery certainly excels. The comfort of surgeon should also be factored into the near perfect outcome of robotic surgery.’

Talking to Medicare News, Gopal Chakravarthy, CEO, Vattikuti Technologies, the company which has been the sole distributor of da Vinci from Intuitive Surgical Inc., USA, said, ‘Robotic Surgery has made its mark in top Indian cities. Now it is set to make inroads into tier two cities in the country as well. The distributor is buoyed by a robust 50 per cent growth in the number of da Vinci Surgical robots deployed in Indian hospitals in the last one year and has drawn up an ambitious expansion plan.’

 

Chakravarthy further said, ‘Non-availability of trained surgeons, cost of computer assisted procedures and equipment are all constraints challenging the spread of robotic surgery into tier 2 and 3 towns. To address these constraints, Vattikuti Technologies and Intuitive Surgical Inc. USA and Vattikuti Foundation will showcase the technology to surgeons and hospital administrators in 20 cities over the next six months. The da Vinci Surgical Robot on the special mobile vehicle will simulate an operation theatre setting as it gives exposure to doctors in smaller towns.’

He added, ‘The Roving Robot will help surgeons in smaller towns experience the immense capabilities of a da Vinci Surgical Robot — 3-dimensional HD vision system and 10 times magnification for removal of affected tissue while retaining healthy tissue with tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. This enables superior outcome, quick recovery and therefore reduced hospital stays.’

Chakravarthy said, ‘In 2016, over 750,000 procedures were performed worldwide using over 4000 da Vinci robotic surgical systems world-wide. Over 4 million da Vinci procedures have been carried out so far. In India too, it is increasingly picking up.

In India,  large corporate hospitals such as Apollo, Aster, Fortis, HCG, Max, Medanta; Government hospitals such as AIIMS, Army Research & Referral Hospital, Delhi State Cancer Institute, PGI, Chandigarh, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology; and Trust hospitals such as Tata Memorial, Mumbai, Amrita Institute, Kochi, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute are using the da Vinci Surgical Robots.

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