First robotic surgery for throat cancer patient at Kidwai hospital

beedi smoker for 30 years, Mahadevappa, 55, suffering from throat cancer, lay still as a robotic armremoved a tumour from his mouth. The procedure was performed using DaVinci Xian advanced robotic machinery, for the first time at the government-run Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology on Monday.

A four-armed robot assisted by a well-trained surgeon operated on Mahadevappa (name changed) in a live surgery during a workshop conducted at Kidwai. As a team of surgeons started manoeuvring the robotic arms in the trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS), many oncologists watched keenly. While one arm of the robot has a camera, the other three are used to remove the tumour. Be it clipping the nerve or sucking blood during the procedure, everything is done by the robotic arms.

"The government has invested Rs 16 crore for application of robotic surgery in treating cancer patients. The surgery cost is Rs 1.25 lakh for each patient and the same will be covered by Suvarana Arogya Suraksha Trust. At Kidwai, we have impressive infrastructure, especially for live demonstrations and get huge volumes of cases," said Dr Ashok M Shenoy, HOD, department of head and neck oncology, Kidwai.
Addressing the workshop, Dr Umamaheshwar Duvvuri, director of robotic surgery division of head and neck surgery, university of Pittsburgh, US said it was important to keep up with changing times. "There is a trend towards minimally invasive surgeries, especially concerning patients with head and neck cancers. This is mainly because patients are often attracted to smaller incisions and a faster recover period," he said. "DaVinci Xi was primarily created to treat soldiers in battlefields. When it comes to head and neck surgery TORS received FDA approval in December 2009," said Dr Duvvuri.

"It is known to directly and efficiently tackle tumours. One of the major advantages is that the healing process takes about 21 days," he added. However, it's the doctors who take a call on who can be treated through such robotic surgeries, depending on the result of CT scan, the stage of cancer, and the location and size of the tumour.


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