Three-armed robot performs cardiac surgery in Chennai

A rare heart surgery, that involved a robot, was recently performed at the Chettinad Health City in Chennai. The robotically-assisted surgery performed on a 23-year-old auto driver, involved simultaneous replacement of both the aortal and mitral valves.

The surgery, performed by a three-armed robot, took four hours and cost Rs2.25 lakh. According to Dr Ravi Kumar, who performed the surgery, the best part about using a robot in cardiac surgery was that it obviated the need to open the patient's heart and the procedure required only a small 4cm incision.

According to Dr Kumar this is not possible with normal surgeries that are performed without a robot.

Robotic surgery is fairly new in the country and can be used in a variety of medical procedures according to Dr Kumar. He said a lot of precision and intense training was required since the robotic hands actually perform the procedure, but performed under the control of a trained surgeon.

Dr Kumar, however, added that one of the biggest disadvantages was the lack of sensory perception as with a surgeon actually performing the surgery himself.

Quoting Dr Naresh Trehan, pioneer of the surgery and who is also chairman and managing director of Medanta and Medicity in New Delhi, The Times of India reported that robotic surgery had come a long way from a three-armed robot to a four-armed robot now.

He said an institute now trained doctors to perform robotic surgeries and there were people doing colon surgery, prostate surgery and cardiac surgery using robots almost on a daily basis.

According to Kumar the biggest advantage of the robotic procedure was the time of recovery. He predicted that in the next 10 years almost 80 per cent of surgeries in the country would be done using robots.