Robotic surgery on the horizon at Groote Schuur Hospital

Groote Schuur Hospital will become the first public sector hospital in Africa to perform Robotic Surgery for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

The hospital is excited to launch this technology on Wednesday, 13 October 2021. The da Vinci Xi fourth generation Robot which will be used in theatres at the hospital is truly a historic event for the province.

The System represents four generations and nearly 20 years of learning how to enhance surgical performance by creating a natural extension of the surgeon’s eyes and hands. The System has broader capabilities than prior generations of da Vinci Systems. The da Vinci Xi can be used across a wide spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for complex, multi‐quadrant surgeries. The new technology allows for minimally invasive surgery for complex diseases and conditions in gynaecology, urology, cardiothoracic, colorectal and general surgery.

The surgery itself provides for improved visualization due to magnified 3D imaging, ability to change colour visualization to better identify structures which leads to more precise surgery and improved clinical and functional outcomes.

The CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital, Dr Bhavna Patel, said, “Groote Schuur Hospital are proud to continue innovating with this cutting-edge technology. This particular system is the first of its kind being used in Africa and we are the first public sector hospital to start robotic surgery in South Africa. We are proud to be able to offer our patients the benefits of these new techniques that lessen operating time, complications and hospital stay, with a quicker recovery time – all in all, a better experience pre and post operation. “

Congratulating the hospital, Western Cape Minister of Health Nomafrench Mbombo, said: “Once again, the Groote Schuur Hospital has come up with a groundbreaking technology where we will perform robotic surgeries, meaning, we will be the first hospital on the continent to come up with this innovation. The timing is perfect, just because after this surgery patients have a shorter hospital stay and recovery time which allows them to get home quicker to be with their families and to return to work. Now we can phase-in non-covid illnesses. We are facing an insurmountable backlog but with this innovation, we have hope of catching up. I applaud the team of the hospital, well done.”

“Robotic-assisted surgery has become the new standard of care as an option for minimal invasive surgical intervention. This new technology allows surgeons to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than it is possible with conventional techniques. It’s initially pioneered with Urological Surgery but now it has been extended to and not limited Colorectal, General, Cardiothoracic Surgery and Urogynaecology. So many more lives that can be improved with the use of this technology. We are excited to be the first state health care facility to acquire this state-of-the-art 4th generation da Vinci Robot. Acquiring a robot in our institution will improve our collaborative approach to complex surgery involving many different clinical disciplines, training and of most importance functional and ensuring our patients have the best result. It is also exciting that we will match the standards and access to the latest technology to our patients as Robotic surgery has only been in the private sector for more than eight years in South Africa. We are looking forward to making this Program a success,” was the response from an excited Dr Samkele Salukazana, Robotic Surgery Co-ordinator at Groote Schuur Hospital.


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