Robotics help for complex procedures

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Greenslopes Private Hospital is utilising its well-established robotic surgical unit to offer patients complex and uncommonly performed procedures

Greenslopes Private General Surgeon, Dr Shinn Yeung, has performed the first robotic distal pancreatectomy in Australia. A distal pancreatectomy is performed in order to resect a tumor in the distal portion of the pancreas – also known as the tail. In this procedure, the abnormal portion of the pancreas is removed – sometimes with the adjoining spleen, and the remaining part of the pancreas is sutured or stapled shut. This operation is normally performed as an open procedure, but can be performed laparoscopically.

Since it is a minimally invasive procedure performed through a number of small incisions, robotic distal pancreatectomy avoids the need for a large abdominal incision, resulting in less post-operative discomfort and scarring and a speedier recovery.

In addition, the da Vinci Si surgical robot provides surgeons with an enhanced ability to visualise and safely operate on the blood vessels surrounding the pancreas, compared with laparoscopic or open surgery. This enhanced visualisation also allows for improved spleen preservation rates.

Hepatobiliary and pancreatic operations are complex and uncommonly performed procedures, and to date there are few centres around the world where they are performed robotically.

“We are fortunate at Greenslopes Private to have a well-established robotic surgical unit, and can now offer patients the option of performing these procedures robotically,” Dr Yeung said. “We are building on the success of the last five years with more than 2,000 robotic radical prostatectomies being performed here at Greenslopes.”

As a major tertiary referral centre with some of Queensland’s finest surgeons on campus, Greenslopes is able to offer patients access to very complex surgical procedures, some of which can now be performed robotically. In recent months we have seen other firsts for robotic surgery performed at Greenslopes Private Hospital.

Urologist Dr Kate Gray performed Queensland’s first robotic sacrocolpopexy. This procedure is performed to correct prolapse and/or herniation of the vagina, uterus and bladder. In this procedure, mesh is used to anchor the cervix to the sacral bone thereby lifting the vagina and bladder into their normal anatomic positions.

The robotic sacrocolpopexy avoids the need for a large abdominal incision, and women undergoing this procedure are able to experience a less painful recovery with a significantly quicker return to normal activities than would be possible with open surgery.

Gynaecological Oncologist, Associate Professor Russell Land recently performed Greenslopes’ first robotic hysterectomies. Many women suffer from gynaecologic conditions that may require a hysterectomy.

Associate Professor Land said that until now, women facing a hysterectomy have had the option to have this procedure done as open surgery or laparoscopically but now we are able to offer this state of the art minimally invasive surgical option using the da Vinci system.

By Frances McChlery

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