Robotic surgery in Africa

Posted on May 4, 2015 12:20 am

Robotic surgery is an incredible technological development in medicine and Africa as region has not been left in embracing it.According to records,use of robots to perform surgery started in Canada, 32 years ago. Since then, many medical robots have been developed to help doctors perform surgery.Hospitals across the continent are making it possible for patients and doctors to take advantage of breakthrough.The benefits are immense with human-guided robot surgeons reaching areas inside the body that are hard to be seen by the eyes. Recovery phases are shorter, too, and there are no significant scars left on the body after a procedure according to a robotic surgery expert working in Zambia.Although I cannot name due work related issues, the physician who operates the robotically assisted surgical system at a hospital in Zambia told me last week the system was introduced in early 2014. So far, it has had a satisfying success rate and more US based donors are promising more financial and similar equipments donations.“A surgeon often finds trouble during major surgery to find tissue that is located in difficult areas due to the limited sight of the surgeon. Surgery that uses microscopes has proven to be an a popular solution because it has the capacity to minimize scars and patients are known to recover much faster.

Since the technology was introduced, the Zambian hospital’s robotic surgery team, had successfully performed robotic surgery for 30 patients, comprising gynecology surgeries, prostate surgeries and one urology and gastrointestinal surgery.According to my friend, robotic surgery in Zambia focuses on areas like benign gynecological procedures, gynecological cancer, urology and digestive cases.The medical robot in Zambian Hospital has components like vision cart that holds a 26-inch high-definition monitor, 3D camera, light source, central control unit and data processing center.And the other is patient robotic cart with one camera arm and two instrument arms.The camera arm has high-definition 3D video camera that can produce clear picture of the incision area when all arms are put into the body.Another component is the doctor’s console, from which the surgeon controls the instruments through a master controller. From the screen, the doctor can view the incision area clearly in 3D and can magnify it digitally.No doubt robotic surgery could be a bridge between open surgery and laparoscopy, thanks to its flexibility.

Open surgery in Zambia was not ergonomic sides and had a long recovery phase, despite its simplicity. While laparoscopy allows for faster recovery phase and allows doctor to use cameras to do surgeries, it was not ergonomic and offered only a restricted degree of motion.Robotic surgery can cover the drawbacks in open surgery and traditional laparoscopy. The gynecology robotic surgery expert whom I exchanges mails and is also involved in the Zambia project, informed me patients recovered fast since robotic surgery only required incisions of less than 3 centimeters.In addition, patient can recover quickly because during the surgery, the bleeding was only less than 100 ccs, and that’s very little. That’s why it’s been very easy for them to recover.Despite the benefits, Zambian patients still need to pay a great amount, ranging from US$9,000 and above to access robotic surgery services. The price is actually cheaper than those offered by hospitals in other parts of the world, which charged $15,000 for such procedures.The arrival of robotic surgery in Zambia would improve the country’s healthcare and your blogger would recommend that its members learn how to perform robotic surgery as its the next big thing in health industry.

Contador Harrison