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Go under the robot’s knife

- SCB hospital to introduce robotic surgery by year-end

Cuttack, May 13: Robotic surgery will be introduced by year-end at the state-run SCB Medical College and Hospital here. Robots will assist doctors during advanced surgical procedures at the hospital.

Though the facility will be installed in the urology department, it will also be available for cardiac, general surgery, gastro-intestinal, and gynaecological surgery, an official of the hospital said.

In robotic surgery, a surgeon sits at a computer and directs the movements of the robot — an electro-magnetic machine — to use small surgical tools attached to its arms. The surgeon makes small cuts to insert instruments into the patient’s body. A thin tube with a camera at its end (an endoscope) allows the surgeon to view enlarged 3D images of the body during the surgery.

The robot matches the doctor’s hand movements to perform the procedure using the tiny instruments.

The head of urology Dateswar Hota told The Telegraph today that the state government’s Standing Finance Committee after exploring feasibility in terms of cost and benefits had approved the installation of robot-assisted surgery system for Rs 14 crore. He said tenders would be invited once the election code of conduct came to an end.

The hospital wants to install the robotic surgery unit by October or November.

“The aim is to not only provide state-of-the-art technology for medical services at the hospital, but also make them affordable to the common man. The average cost per patient will be between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000, whereas patients have to spend between Rs 1.5 and Rs 2 lakh at a private hospital,” Hota said.

“At present, robotic surgery facility is available in eastern India only at Apollo Hospital in Calcutta,” he said.

“SCB Medical College and Hospital will be the third government hospital in the country to have the facility after All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi, and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh,” he added.

Robotic surgeries involve considerably less incisions than standard operations, because the instruments can be inserted in the body through much smaller cuts. Robotic instruments can access hard-to-reach places in the patient’s body through minor surgical cuts.

“It will enable pin-point precision with magnified 3D images and enable the surgeons to accurately deal with problems in the most inaccessible parts of the body. The procedure will involve smaller incisions than laparoscopy, causing not only far less trauma and blood loss, but also result in quick recovery of the patient,” Hota said.

Robotic surgery may be used for prostrate operations, including removal of the tumour, gall bladder, and kidney operations and gynaecological surgeries related to ovaries, uterus and pelvis. It can also be used in kidney transplant procedures, coronary artery bypass, hip replacement and to cut away cancer tissue from sensitive parts of the body such as blood vessels, nerves or important body organs.


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