Southern Cross’ North Harbour Hospital has purchased a third-generation da Vinci robot for the Auckland region and is having it installed for debut this month.
The robot offers patients a minimally invasive option for more complex or delicate surgery - predominantly gynaecological and urological procedures.
It will be one of only three surgical robots in the country with the other two based at the Southern Cross Hospital in Christchurch and Grace Hospital in Tauranga.
North Harbour Hospital manager Jeanette Kini says: “Currently, patients in the North Island travel to Tauranga for robotic surgery, and we believe it is important to offer a choice to patients in the Auckland region to help negate the need to travel. In addition, we have growing numbers of progressive surgeons in Auckland who have already had robotic training, so this move won’t only please our patients.”
Surgeries are typically performed through small incisions, or operating ports. The surgeon sits at a console, with miniaturised instruments on robotic arms replicating their exact movements in real-time.
Kini says, “The system can’t be programmed or make decisions on its own, so patients can be assured their procedure is still performed entirely by their surgeon.”
A movement of five centimetres by the surgeon’s hand at the control console can translate to a movement of one centimetre by the miniature instruments inside the body. That enables very precise and gradual movement in delicate areas involving high concentrations of nerves and blood vessels, minimising the risk of complications.
Kini says, “In both head & neck and urological procedures you are often operating close to vital structures, so the precision of the robot technology is a welcome addition to our service offering. It reinforces a skilled surgeon’s capabilities and offers better visualisation of important anatomical structures, whilst increasing precision. This can also translate into a faster recovery from surgery than open or conventional keyhole surgery.”