Pretoria - South Africa’s first robotic surgery system has been launched at Pretoria’s The Urology Hospital, marking a new era in hi-tech health care.
The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System is suited to complex and delicate surgeries such as the removal of the prostate gland (prostatectomy). The system – nicknamed Umthombo (meaning everlasting fountain in Zulu) – will be operational at the hospital in the capital from October 21.
Speaking at the unveiling of the robot, surgeons and health industry officials, including urologist, Dr Lance Coetzee, said that robotic surgery technology had grown to such an extent across the globe that in the US, about 83 percent of radical prostate surgery was now undertaken with this technology. In the UK, there were 36 such surgical robots.
“This is the type of state-of-the- art technology that augments the work of surgeons and which can offer more precise surgery with much reduced morbidity (rate of incidence of a disease).
“This new technology means a patient can now be back at work after two weeks, rather than six.”
Thomas Dunbar, MD of Earth Medical, part of the Litha Healthcare Group which distributes the da Vinci robotic technology in South Africa, said he expected other hospitals across the country to acquire this technology in future.
The robotic technology would help take certain surgical procedures to new levels due to its advanced technology, he said. The real-time diagnostic imaging capabilities would aid surgeons on multiple levels. “If the surgeon needs an image, such as an MRI scan, while operating they can plug an information source into the console which can aid them in real time. This technology and the platforms are already available in this robotic system which will be further developed and enhanced in future,” he added.
Dean Fossett, also from Earth Medical, said the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System could be used for various other procedures but would be commencing with urological surgery, in particular prostatectomies, at The Urology Hospital. Managing director of the hospital, Sarel van der Walt, said the technology would result in less blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stays and a quicker return to normal daily activities. – Pretoria News