With a focus on precision care, reduced hospital stays and quicker recoveries, robotic-assisted surgery is revolutionising healthcare, according to doctors in Bengaluru, who also said it is superior to conventional surgery.
Dr Jagadish J Hiremath, founder of the AASRA Group of Hospitals, said Bengaluru, being a technology-driven city, had adopted robotic surgery much earlier than other cities in the country. “Today surgeries with hundred per cent precision, nearly hundred per cent perfection are possible with robotic assistance… Robot-assisted surgery gives better results. Patients have less pain and they are able to get back to work early and get back to their normal lifestyle,” he said.
Dr Hiremath gave the example of a polio patient. “He grew up with a polio limb. He was working in a school and one day he fell down and broke his hip. He went to a hospital where girdle-stone arthroplasty was performed, but it made his condition worse. Last month he came to us and we got a CT scan done. We went for robotic total hip replacement. This is the first case of a robotic hip replacement in a polio patient with failed girdle-stone arthroplasty. He is now able to stand by himself.”
Since June AASRA has performed more than 150 robotic surgeries, said Hiremath.
Dr Mohan Keshavamurthy of Fortis Hospitals said that robotic surgery provides 10 times-high magnification. “A robot has multiple arms with seven degrees of freedom. Robotic surgery has 3D vision… Fortis Bengaluru has been performing robotic surgery for the last five years. So far, we have performed close to 1,000 procedures,” he said.
If only a portion of a kidney is affected by cancer, that part can be removed using robotic surgery, Dr Keshavamurthy said, adding that robots are particularly helpful in pelvic surgery in males, in that they can reach areas where human hands cannot go easily.
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ravikumar Mukartihal of the SPARSH Group of Hospitals said that a key advantage of robotic surgery is the reduced hospital stay. “Post-surgery, patients have to stay in the hospital only for a few days. In the UK and the US, more than the surgical costs, other costs due to the hospital stay and the availability of beds are what add to the expenses and it’s a huge burden for patients. The scenario is more or less similar in India too,” he said.
The cost will come down if robotics-specific machinery is manufactured in India, according to Dr Mukartihal. “Whenever there is a manufacturing unit that needs to be opened, it also needs support from the policy makers and awareness has to be raised…” he said.
Since July, the hospital has done about 70 robotic surgeries, mostly for hip and knee joint replacement, he said.