Medicover Hospital Makes History: First Robotic Surgery Saves Man from Pancreatic Cancer in AP

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Visakhapatnam, 04 July, 2024: Doctors at Medicover Hospital, a leading multispecialty hospital in Visakhapatnam, performed a unique robotic-assisted surgery to save a 77-year-old pancreatic cancer patient. The surgery called the ‘Whipple procedure’ was done with the help of one of the best robotic-assisted surgery systems, da Vinci made by US based Intuitive. This rare procedure has only been performed by a handful of surgeons worldwide and this is the first time ever a Whipple procedure is being performed with the help of a surgical robot in Andhra Pradesh. The surgery was led by Dr. Biswabasu Das, Director- Department of Surgical Gastroenterology.

Dr. Biswabasu Das

The patient who had progressive jaundice and itching all over the body was diagnosed with cancer in the head of the pancreas (periampullary region) during initial assessments. He was suggested to undergo an open Whipple procedure from other hospitals. Upon further consultation at Medicover hospital, the patient was recommended to undergo robotic Whipple surgery. This procedure requires to remove a part of pancreas, duodenum, bile duct, gall bladder, and the surgeons need to reconnect all these parts after the removal of cancer tissues. This requires meticulous reconstruction; hence this surgery is done only by highly trained surgeons.

Commenting on the complexity of the procedure, Dr. Biswabasu Das said, “Traditionally this operation is performed by open surgery with large incisions of 15-20 cms over abdomen. From my more than two decade long surgical experience, I have witnessed patients struggle with prolonged recovery and postoperative pain following open Whipple procedures. When we make such large incisions, it will require high amount blood transfusion, as well. But, now with advanced surgical technologies like da Vinci robotic surgery, we can do it more precisely with small incisions. It has shown remarkable efficacy in improving the patient outcomes. Conventional open surgery poses significant postoperative complications, as well. The patient takes several days to recover, start walking and do normal activities like eating and defecation. Compared to these, the patient who underwent the robotic – assisted surgery was discharged in only four days and resumed day – to – day activities soon, which is quite early considering how this procedure is regarded as one among the most complex abdominal surgeries. Typically, during the surgical procedure, various tubes like T –tubes are inserted to facilitate post-operative care. Due to minimal blood loss and reduced pain, the patient recovered swiftly, and all tubes were removed in no time”.

The introduction of advanced medical technologies such as robotic-assisted surgical systems has transformed the way gastrointestinal surgical procedures are performed at the hospital. There has been a significant increase in the number of patients seeking robotic surgery over other conventional methods. The hospital recently completed 100 surgeries since the installation of da Vinci RAS system three months back.

“At our hospital, we perform a wide range of surgical procedures, from common cases like gallbladder stones and appendix surgeries, to complex procedures such as Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary surgeries, foregut surgeries including fundoplication, gastroenterostomy and treatments for achalasia cardia, colorectal surgeries and acute abdominal emergencies. All these procedures which were done either laparoscopically or through conventional means are now being done robotically. There is a significant demand for robotic – assisted surgery which indicates the need for hospitals to invest in the technology and make it accessible to more patients. An increase in the adoption of robotic systems will elevate the quality of patient care,” Dr. Biswabasu Das, added.

Robotic-assisted surgery, being minimally invasive, involves only small incisions and results in reduced blood loss. The three dimensional vision and precision the technology offers improves the accuracy of surgical procedures, leading to enhanced patient outcomes.