Role of Robotic Surgery during COVID-19
Has Apollo Hospitals opted for robotic surgery more for surgeries since the last month?
Even before the COVID pandemic, we had an increase in patients opting for Robotic surgery due to its many advantages including more precise surgery, less risk of infection and blood loss, quicker recovery, early discharge and shortened hospital stay. After the COVID pandemic, we have been seeing an increased demand for robotic surgery especially as the procedure allows for social distancing with lesser people around the patient and robot. There is only one surgeon at a console that is away from the patient as well as fewer support staff. This also reduces the risk of operating on a COVID-19 positive patient. The infection rates are lower as compared to laparoscopy and open surgeries.
How many surgeries do robots process in a day and which kind of operations are they being used for given the current scenario?
It is difficult to comment on the number of surgeries per day. However, currently most of the robotic surgeries are taking place in urology and gastrointestinal & bariatric surgery. However, there are surgeries using robotic surgical machines taking place in general surgery, gynaecology and for head and neck surgeries. Robotic surgery for treatment of prostate, kidney and urinary bladder cancer has proved to be highly beneficial to patients.
How many robots does the hospital have and do they plan to deploy more this year?
From the around 80 Robotic assisted surgery set-ups in India, Apollo Hospitals network has the most number. At Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai, we have Da Vinci Surgical Robots for Oncology, Urology, Bariatric and General Surgeries.
Any other insights?
Robotic surgery requires surgeons who are trained in it and have the requisite expertise. In future, tele-surgery and augmented reality will enable surgeons in one city to train and guide surgeons in another city or town.
Inputs from Robotic Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai