More breathroughs, I suppose, in the medical field: would you be operated on by a human doctor when your time comes, or by an android, or perhaps, a really no-frills, no cosmetics metals-and-wires mechanical robot? Who can tell?

By Olivia Siong | Posted: 26 December 2011

A 3D simulation of the robotic gastrectomy procedure.
SINGAPORE: A more precise surgery method is now available to those suffering from stomach cancer. Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has become the first in Southeast Asia to perform the robotic gastrectomy procedure.

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Singapore, and doctors say that stomach cancer is largely triggered by poor lifestyle choices, such as overeating or eating too much barbequed food. Only a small percentage is caused by genetic factors.

75-year-old Loh Ah Mye was diagnosed with stage one stomach cancer last month. But due to her age, doctors found it risky for her to go through the usual key hole surgery to remove cancer cells.

She opted to undergo the robotic gastrectomy procedure, and became the first person in Southeast Asia to do so. The procedure is commonly performed in Korea and Japan, where the incidence of stomach cancer is high.

Madam Loh said: "I really did recover quite quickly. When I woke up from the operation, yes I was in pain, but I could get up to walk around and also go to the toilet."

The surgeon performing the robotic gastrectomy procedure operates on the patient through the use of a console while watching a 3D high-definition screen. Instruments, which are mounted on robotic arms controlled by the doctor, are then inserted into the body.

The robotic arms are able to mimic the movement of the hand and the wrist within the abdomen. This allows freer movement and precision. This especially helps lymph node dissection, which is much more difficult to perform in laparoscopic surgery.

The portion affected by cancer cells in the abdomen is then removed.

The surgery is typically conducted on people with stage 1 and 2 cancer, when the affected area is still relatively small. Trials are underway to see if such a surgery is suitable for later stages of stomach cancer.

Dr Jaideepraj Rao, a consultant with the Department of General Surgery at TTSH, said: "In this kind of key hole surgery or robotic surgery, the incisions are extremely small, so the pain is much less and they recover faster. We have high-definition cameras that can zoom in, so really we see the field magnified, every small structure can be identified, so our dissection is very meticulous and there's less blood loss."

Madam Loh said she still suffers from some side-effects from the operation, as she still throws up some of her food.

But doctors said that this is a common response to most stomach surgeries.

Currently the robotic gastrectomy method costs more for the patient.

However, doctors said the price is likely to drop, as they expect more people to opt for this kind of surgery. This method has also been used in other hospitals in Singapore for prostate and colon cancer.


Taken from; source article is below:
TTSH first to perform robotic gastrectomy in SE Asia

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