Kochi September 17, 2015: Robotic surgery was in sharp focus for the first time in India this week. Over 100 participants from India, the US and Switzerland, came together at the Robotic Surgeons Meet held at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
India’s current pool of 120 trained robotic surgeons will, however, need to be ramped up to 300 over the next 5 years to keep pace with the anticipated growth in procedure, the conference was told.
Robotic surgery, leading to a healthier post-operative life, quicker healing of wounds, lower infections and shorter hospital stays, has gained popularity in India with 25 hospitals deploying Surgical Robots to help experienced surgeons perform simple to complicated surgeries. With the growing acceptance of robotic surgery procedures, led by Urology and Gynaecology, the number of procedures are expected to touch nearly 6000 this year (2015).
At the core of robotic surgery is an experienced surgeon well trained to deploy the power of 3-D vision as well as optimal precision offered by a surgical robot. While the robots do not perform any surgeries they offer higher precision, particularly in hard-to-access parts of the body, to the surgeon, than handheld tools.
In his keynote address Dr Mario Leitao Jr., Director, Minimal Access and Robotic Surgery Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center urged Robotic Surgeons to master anatomy, surgical principles and tools to achieve positive outcomes.
Kicking off the meet Mr. Raj Vattikuti, founder, Vattikuti Foundation reiterated their efforts in expanding trained pool of surgeons with initiatives like mentoring, webinars and fellowships to resident doctors. “Vattikuti Foundation shall continue to evangelize robotic surgery so as to improve people's lives,” he added.
The Foundation, which serves both the local community in Michigan and other parts of the world has chosen to propagate Robotic Surgery in India. Indian surgeons specialising in ‘Minimal Access Surgery’ shared best practices in robotic surgery.
“Robotic surgery assures a healthier post-operative life, causing minimal loss of blood, quicker healing of wounds and shorter hospital stays for those suffering from life threatening conditions in digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and other vital body systems,” said Dr. Mahendra Bhandari, a noted kidney transplant surgeon and Director, Robotic Surgery Research and Education at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit.
“A surgical robot packs in academic rigour and robust technology to enhance efficacy of each procedure. We shall continue our efforts to help experienced surgeons deliver superior outcomes,” said Mr Jeroen M M van Heesewijk, Sr VP, APAC and global distribution, Intuitive Surgical Inc., makers of da Vinci surgical robots.
The conference was preceded by a master class in gynaecological oncology during the week. The robotic surgeries--removal of cancerous uterus and removal of ovarian tumour--were conducted by Dr. Leitao, Jr., and a team of doctors from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi led by Onco-Gynaecologist Dr Anupama Rajanbabu.
“Procedures conducted using surgical robots facilitate quick recovery of patients. They offer immense value in cancer surgeries due to superior visualisation, meticulous dissection and precise suturing, traction and counter traction at all times,” says Dr. Bhandari who also serves as the CEO, Vattikuti Foundation.
What started, in India, with a surgical procedure aided by ‘da Vinci Surgical Robot’ in 2002 at a Delhi Hospital, the technology is today being used by 25 Government and Private hospitals with 120 surgeons performing robotic surgeries. Vattikuti Foundation--a not-for-profit body based in Michigan, USA--that organized the Robotic Surgeons’ Meet unveiled plans to ramp up the number of trained robotic surgeons to 300 by 2020.
Dr Bhandari said that robotic procedures in India will cross the 6000 mark in 2015 as more and more procedures across the spectrum - Cardiac, Urology, General surgery, Thoracic, Gynaecology, Head and neck, Vascular and Paediatrics— have started using robots.
Eminent surgeons made presentations that highlighted their experiences and learnings in Robotic Surgery. Over two score robotic surgeons from 12 hospitals in India—AIIMS, Amrita Medical Institute & Research Centre, Aster Medicity, Apollo Hospitals (in Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata), Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Manipal Hospital, Medanta-The Medicity, Mohak Hi-Tech Specialty Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Tata Memorial Hospital and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital – participated in the conference.
The Vattikuti Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded in 1997, serving the local community in Southeast Michigan as well as causes in India and other parts of the world. Through the Vattikuti Foundation, Raj Vattikuti and his wife Padma continue to lend their support to a number of worthy charitable causes. The Foundation has distinguished itself by establishing the Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospitals and the Vattikuti Digital Breast Diagnostic Center at Beaumont Hospitals.
More info: Vattikutti's robotic surgery initiatives