Tygerberg Hospital has become the first government hospital in South Africa to successfully perform a robot-assisted surgery on Tuesday, 22 February.
The introduction of this advanced technology is a first for both patient care and surgical innovation in the country’s state health system.
The Western Cape’s Department of Health launched the Robotics Surgeries at Groote Schuur Hospital in October 2021. At the time of the launch, the Department indicated that it was the first of its kind in Africa and would save time as it caught up with the huge backlog they currently have.
According to the Department of Health, the two da Vinci Xi systems (the fourth generation and most technologically advanced surgical robot currently available) will be used by surgeons from the specialist disciplines of colorectal surgery, urology, gynaecology, and hepatobiliary surgery.
The department said the system’s versatility and its use by multiple surgical specialities will maximise the number of patients who benefit from this sophisticated medical technology.
“The main diseases that the programme will focus on are colorectal, liver, prostate, kidney and bladder cancers, and women with severe endometriosis.
“The operation is not performed by a robot alone, instead, the system gives surgeons an advanced set of instruments that the surgeon guides from a dedicated console via fibre optic cables. The da Vinci system thus “translates” a surgeon’s hand movements at the console in real-time, bending and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure,” the department said.
The following video contains scenes of a graphic medical procedure.
Dr Tim Forgan, Tygerberg Hospital Head of Colorectal Surgery and Robotics Coordinator indicated that the da Vinci robotic system is the latest cutting-edge technology in minimally invasive surgery.
“To use this surgical system that has been shown to decrease the chance of complications while allowing for successful major surgery through small incisions at Tygerberg Hospital is exciting and inspirational,” Forgan said.
Congratulating the hospital, Western Cape Minister of Health Nomafrench Mbombo, said: “Once again, the Tygerberg Hospital has come up with a ground-breaking technology where they will perform robotic surgeries, meaning, they will be the first hospital on the continent to perform these types of surgeries.”
Western Cape, Premier Alan Winde, also mentioned that it truly is an incredible feat that Tygerberg Hospital has become the first public hospital in South Africa to perform a robotic surgical procedure.
“t is going to make a big difference in helping us recover our comprehensive healthcare services, which were impacted by the pandemic. I applaud all those involved in this significant achievement for the Western Cape,” Winde adds.
Picture: WCHealthMEC / Twitter