Life Healthcare has introduced the da Vinci X system, an advanced robotic-assisted surgery system designed to help surgeons in minimising invasive prostate cancer surgery.

The da Vinci X is one of the latest models of the da Vinci surgical robotic systems and Life Kingsbury Hospital has acquired the very first of this model in Africa.

The robotic system translates surgeon’s hand movements through tiny instruments which allow for smaller, precise movements. “The technology is practically the extension of a surgeon’s eyes and hands at the surgical site,” said Urologist and Registered da Vinci® Training Surgeon at Life Kingsbury Hospital, Dr Conray Moolman.

During surgery the surgeon sits at a nearby console to view 3D images (x 10 magnification) of the surgical site and manipulate the arms of the robotic instruments. One of the system’s instruments is a laparoscope – a thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end. The camera sends images to a video monitor in the operating room to guide the doctor during surgery.

Patient benefits include a reduced need for blood transfusion, less post-operative pain and shorter hospital stay. Dr Moolman says 75% of patients go home the day after a robotic prostatectomy.

Older models of the da Vinci system are already used in a number of private hospitals across South Africa, but what makes the da Vinci X different is the significantly improved high definition vision to allow the surgeon to visualise anatomy even better. “The surgeon can now visualise and protect tiny nerves next to the prostate with greater care,” said Dr Moolman.

In addition, the system’s camera is also more advanced than older models whereby the surgeon is able to change the camera lens angle from 30 degrees up to 30 degrees down at the press of a button. In older models the camera would have to be removed manually each time a new view was needed.

Dr Moolman added that the technology also includes an integrated “GPS” system to assist the surgeon in controlling instruments not in their view. He highlighted the technology’s safety aspects saying that the da Vinci X has new improved safety specifications that reduce the risk of any complications during the surgical procedure.

“Our main priority is to treat the disease area, while also helping our patients have smoother recoveries and a better quality of life. Through the surgical system we can offer an alternative surgical option with less scarring and pain while also assisting patients with a speedier return to their daily activities,” concluded Dr Moolman.

Life Kingsbury Hospital is initially offering robotic-assisted surgery for prostate cancer and kidney cancer patients and in time will expand the surgical offering to other surgery types.

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