Thursday, February 8, 2007

Robotic surgery to treat cervical and ovarian cancers

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Feb 8: Now it's robotic surgery to treat cervical and ovarian cancers. A team of US cancer specialists is in the city to train local doctors in this new surgical system, which is fast becoming popular in the West.

Robotic surgery is an advanced version of laproscopy, but involves almost no blood loss. Only a small (1 cm) incision is made and the surgeon operates upon the patient sitting on a monitor away from the operating bed.

According to Dr Linus Chuang of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA, the robotic surgery is relatively painless. "This subsequently leads to decreased need for blood transfusions and speedier recovery to daily livings and works," he says.
Dr Linus is part of the robotic surgeons' team which is in the city to attend the two-day international cancer care, education and research conference beginning Saturday. Once the local oncologists are trained in the robotic surgical methods, robotic surgery will become a norm in Hyderabad.

"At present the cost is quite high. Once it is introduced in India, the cost will come down drastically," says Apollo Hospitals senior oncologist Dr Vijay Anand P Reddy, who is organising the international cancer conference.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in India and the human papilloma virus is the culprit. It is traditionally treated by radical hysterectomy or radiation therapy. Robotic surgery will soon replace the traditional methods of cancer management.

"The intuitive nature of the robotic approach, as well as the magnification, dexterity, and flexibility, combined with the significant reduction in surgeon's fatigue offered by the robotic system, will allow and encourage more surgeons to use this minimally invasive approach to radical hysterectomy," says Dr Linus.

The robotic surgical device consists of an ergonomically designed surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart with three to four interactive robotic arms, a high-performance 3-dimensional vision system and seven degrees of mobility.
Because of the improved visualisation, control and dexterity, the robotic surgical device overcomes the limitations of traditional laparoscopic technology, he said.