Robotic surgery is a form of minimal invasive surgery similar to laparoscopic surgery. It is also called Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery (RALS). Cameras and instruments are placed into the body through small incisions similar to laparoscopic surgery. In robotic surgery the camera and instruments are controlled by a surgical robot that uses automated arms to move the instruments. The movement of the robot arms are in turn controlled by the surgeon who sits at a console with master controllers (similar to a joystick). Each movement the surgeon executes with the joystick is duplicated inside the patient by the robotic arms.
The advantage of robotic surgery over laparoscopic surgery is the wider range of movements the wristed robotic instruments offer, thereby allowing enhanced instrument manoeuvring during dissection and suturing. The robotic system also utilises 3D vision technology which allows the surgeon depth perception, which is tremendously beneficial during surgery. It offers all the other benefits of laparoscopic over open surgery, such as smaller scars, less postoperative pain and quicker recovery.
The disadvantage of robotic surgery is the cost. The equipment is very expensive to acquire and maintain. For this reason not all minimal invasive operations are performed robotically. Technically demanding operations like radical prostatectomy, partial nephrectomy and pyeloplasty are performed using the robot (but can also be performed laparoscopically without the use of a robot). Removal of a kidney (total nephrectomy) and removal of kidney cysts are typically performed without the use of a robot.
Dr Naude will be offering robotic surgery at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the Cape Town CBD and in Durbanville MediClinic in the Northern Suburbs
For any robotic surgery enquiries, contact Dr Andre Naude at the Urology Clinic