Chettinad Hospitals doctors use robotic arms to perform surgery

P.Ishwar Vidyasagar, cardiac surgeon, Vijayakanth, patient and R.Ravikumar, director, Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Robotic Surgery Centre, Chettinad Hospitals in Chennai on Friday. Photo:S.R.Raghunathan  

Doctors at Chettinad Hospitals used a robot to perform a double valve replacement surgery on a 22-year-old patient, whose rheumatic disease had caused valve degeneration at a young age.

Vijayakanth had complained of breathlessness and chest discomfort. At the heart of his problems were two valves (mitral and aortic) damaged by rheumatic disease. Employed as a driver in his hometown Pennagaram, Vellore district, Vijayakanth managed to mobilise funds for the surgery.

Both the diseased valves were removed with the aid of robotic arms, which translated the surgeon's minimal movements (inside a console) into actual surgical cuts and sutures on the patient.

The advantage with robotic surgery is that a smaller incision will suffice, about 4-6 cm, compared to about 22 cm in traditional open heart surgery, said R. Ravikumar, director, Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Robotic Surgery Centre, Chettinad Hospitals.

Consequently there is less tissue damage, less blood, lower chances of infection, less scarring, less pain and a faster discharge period, he said.

Attempting a robotic surgery for a dual valve replacement is complex, as the position of the valves and the access to them are difficult, he explained.

While endoscopic minimally invasive procedures are being done, the robotic procedure scores over them, providing a three-dimensional image, magnified many times.

“At these levels of magnification, it becomes easier to handle procedures even if we are limited by minimal invasion.” Also, the machine filters out the natural tremors of the surgeon's hand, he added.

Dr. Ravikumar claimed that the procedure (double valve replacement with the aid of the robot) performed on February 21 was a first of sorts.

The costs, however, are only Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000 more than what it would cost a conventional open heart surgery to replace two valves.

For Vijayakanth, the bill came up to about Rs.2.25 lakh.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 7:20:28 PM |

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