Robot-assisted surgeries will transform healthcare in country: Indian-origin surgeon

By Meenakshi Iyer9IANS)-

As robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgeries gain ground the world over, robotic surgery has the potential to improve healthcare in India by increasing access to high-quality medical care and reducing costs, Dr Mahendra Bhandari, CEO of US-based Vattikuti Foundation and an Indian-origin pioneer in the field, said on Saturday.

Dr Bhandari, a Padma Shri awardee and also director, robotic research and education, Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit (Michigan), told IANS that although the initial investment in robotic surgical equipment can be expensive, robotic surgery may ultimately result in lower overall healthcare costs due to shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times, and potentially fewer complications.

“It is important to note that the cost-effectiveness of robotic surgery depends on several factors, including the type of procedure, the patient’s medical history, and the availability of skilled robotic surgeons,” he noted.

Dr Bhandari stressed that while robotic surgery has the potential to improve healthcare in India by increasing access to medical care and potentially reducing costs, it is important to ensure that the technology is used appropriately and that patients receive high-quality care from fully trained surgeons.

“One of the missions of the Vattikuti Foundation is to train high-quality robotic surgeons through its fellowship programs,” he told IANS.

In robotic surgery, the surgeon uses a computer-controlled robotic system to control surgical instruments, which are inserted into the patient’s body through small incisions.

Robotic surgery has several potential advantages over traditional surgery, including reduced trauma to the patient, increased precision, shorter hospital stays and reduced risk of infection.

However, it is important to note that there are potential risks associated with any surgical procedure, including robotic surgery.

These risks can include complications related to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, and other surgical complications.

Additionally, there may be a risk of equipment failure or malfunction during the procedure.

Robotic surgery was pioneered at the Vattikuti Urology Institute at the Henry Ford Hospital Detroit where Dr Mani Menon started the very successful Robotic Radical Prostatectomy program in the world in 2001, and subsequently other urological procedures such as kidney, urinary bladder and adrenal surgery.

Vattikuti Urology Institute was the first institute established by the Vattikuti Foundation with a generous grant by Raj and Padma Vattikuti of $20 million.

“Current da Vinci robot is a master-slave system and the robot is totally under the control of the surgeon and does not do anything on its own,” informed Dr Bhandari, a medical graduate from Rajasthan University who completed his urology residency at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

Robotic surgery has now been found useful in several specialties such as urology, abdominal surgery, colorectal surgery, thoracic surgery, head and neck surgery.

In brief, all the procedures done through conventional laparoscopic surgery could be performed with the assistance of robots.

The cost of robotics surgery is generally higher than that of traditional surgery methods due to the high cost of robotic surgical equipment and the specialized training required for surgeons and surgical teams.

As a result, currently, robotics surgery may not be accessible to the average person in India except for those who could get access to government institutions.

“However, it is important to note that the cost of robotics surgery can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of procedure, the surgeon’s experience, and the location of the hospital or surgical centre,” Dr Bhandari told IANS.

Responding to a question on is there any stigma around robotic surgery, he said if there is anything like this, “it could be lack of information or disinformation campaigns”.

Overall, the adoption of robotics surgery in India faces several challenges, including high costs, limited access, training and expertise, integration with existing systems, regulatory issues, and patient awareness and acceptance.

“Addressing these challenges will require a concerted effort from healthcare providers, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to ensure that patients have access to high-quality surgical care,” Dr Bhandari noted.

According to Dr Rooma Sinha, Clinical Lead for Gynecological Robotic Surgery, Apollo Group of Hospitals, she is in full control of the surgical field by zooming in and zooming out the camera, 3D vision from inside the patient’s abdomen and pelvis that can be magnified several fold.

“I also have an extra pair of hands in the form of a third instrument. In fact, all instruments come with a tremor filtration feature and offer wrist-like maneuverability,” she added.

“A surgeon’s expertise, enhanced by a robot delivers better outcomes”, adds Dr Sinha who has been practicing robotic surgery for over a decade.


Related posts