Cape Town - Patients on the waiting list for surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital are among those who will be strategically selected by the surgical team for the first robotic-assisted surgery expected to take place in 2022.
The Western Cape Health Department said Tygerberg Hospital is next in line to receive the da Vinci Xi system in the next few weeks.
This week, the da Vinci Xi system was launched at Groote Schuur Hospital, making it the first of its kind at a public health institution in South Africa.
Patient X has yet to be selected and the profiling and determination will lay in the hands of the surgical team.
The device cost R38 million and was brought eight years ago to the private sector which has seven da Vinci Xi systems.
Training is expected to take between four and six months and will be part of the tertiary education of students.
Globally, over 8 million surgeries have been conducted with the da Vinci Xi.
This week, Dr Saadiq Karriem, the chief operating officer of the Western Cape Health Department, revealed more robotic devices were making their way to State hospitals in the Cape.
“This da Vinci Xi robot is a major innovation for the Western Cape,” he said.
“As a department our intention is in fact to try and roll this out to other hospitals. The next hospital we want to roll this out to is Tygerberg hospital and we are hoping to have a similar launch in a couple of weeks. We were able to purchase two of these services. This robotic service will allow us to be more efficient and effective in how we treat patients requiring surgical interventions. A system like this will help us to address these backlogs.”
Karriem added the selection process would be fair and strategic, focusing on the waiting list and that a patient had not been chosen yet.
“Surgical teams will select patients who are most appropriate, who will benefit from this service. We still need to decide which of the patients will be the first to receive this service and the surgical team will still address that.”
The da Vinci Xi will assist in the following surgeries: gynaecology, urology, cardiothoracic, colorectal and general surgery and is expected to reduce blood loss, infection, recovery and have less scarring after surgery.
Groote Schuur hospital spokesperson Alaric Jacobs said the hospital had chalked up many “firsts” and this adds to them.
“Groote Schuur Hospital has managed to maintain high standards of service, teaching and research in spite of budgetary and other constraints. Groote Schuur trained medical, nursing and allied health personnel are still held in high regard and are sought after all over the world.
The first documented usage of a robot-assisted surgical procedure took place in 1985 with the PUMA 560 robotic surgical arm which was used for a neurological biopsy and non-laparoscopic surgery.