His feet are on the pedals, his hands are on the controls, his head is inside a console, and he is peering into a three-dimensional camera. This what a skilled surgeon in the operating room of the Manipal Hospital looks like while performing a robotic surgery.
High tech, yes. Frayed nerves, no.
Nandkishor Dhomne, VP-IT and CIO, Manipal Health Enterprises, is one of the very few in India who has got first-hand experience in understanding and implementing robotics. “Surgeons become exhausted and can experience hand tremors during long surgeries. The robot takes over the complexities of the surgery, reducing physical exertion and stress levels of the doctor,” he says.
The hospital has conducted surgeon-controlled robotic surgeries since 2011 and the results have been exceptional.
“The surgeon uses a computer console to manipulate the instruments attached to multiple robot arms. The computer deciphers the surgeon’s movements, which are carried out on the patient by the robot. These machines follow the movements of the surgeon with precision, without any scope for trembling or shaking,” Dhomne says.
The surgeons at Manipal Hospital underwent a training program to understand the technicalities of the robot and get a hang of operating it.
Dhomne and his team played the crucial role of ensuring that IT is ready to support the implementation of robotics and that the ongoing technical support platform is up and running with optimum performance and is available 24*7. The IT team also ensured that the systems were integrated with the existing environment and strong connectivity and bandwidth to the database was provided.
Robotic hands can maneuver 360 degrees and are suitable for surgeries requiring high skill and precision. These surgeries involve minimum invasion. Other benefits of robotic surgeries include a shorter hospital stay, fewer complications, less blood loss, reduced pain and discomfort, minimal scarring, and faster return to normalcy.
In 2008, the first robotic surgery in India was conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and since then other major hospitals like Manipal, Apollo, Fortis, and Medanta Medicity have followed suit. The Kokilaben Hospital claims that it had already performed 200 robotic surgeries within 12 months of its launch.
At Manipal Hospital, the cost of surgery is around Rs 75,000 more than the cost of the conventional surgery.
Robotic technology is becoming more and more integrated into the medical system, revolutionizing surgeries. This cutting-edge technology surely brings the surgeons of Manipal Hospital a notch ahead of the medical fraternity.