KLH performs robotic surgery

UTUSAN Malaysia and Berita Harian reported that the Urology Institute of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH) has made a historic breakthrough by making KLH the first hospital in the country to provide robotic surgery. 

Surgeries using a procedure known as the da Vinci System has the capability of reducing operation time and allows patients to recuperate within 24-hours.  

The hospital did its first prostrate gland operation using the robotic surgeon, controlled by a specialist surgeon via a 3D computer screen from outside the operating theatre. 

The robotic surgeon has two fine long arms with a camera that can be placed through a small surgery in the body for a wide-ranging view from within. 

“Even if it was a robot performing the operation, we still need the expertise of a specialist surgeon to control the robot,” said the papers, quoting Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad. 

“One arm of the robot will handle a hook for incision, either by electrical means or by scissors while the other arm handles the surgical forceps. 

“The specialist controls the robot via a computer with a three-dimensional screen to pinpoint the surgery locations,” he said. 

The robotic surgery can be used for detailed operations such as radical prostatectomy, which would require the incision of the whole prostrate gland in a prostrate cancer. 

Aside that, the robotic surgery can also be used for surgeries involving the heart, kidneys and other internal organs which require intricate sutures. 

According to the dailies, HKL had performed 10 operations using the robotic system. 

Of the 10 operations, nine were radical prostatectomy cases for treating prostate cancer and one pyeloplasti case for pelviureteric junction. At present, there are 13 patients waiting to undergo this operation. 

Dr Abdul Latiff said the ministry had purchased two robotic units costing RM5mil each, one in HKL and another in Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) in Johor Baru, adding that patients were charged only RM500 for the operation. 

“HKL introduces the cheapest fees in the world for robotic surgery as compared to Singapore and America with charges of S$15,000 (RM33,000) and USD40,000 (RM152,000) respectively. 

“This is a sophisticated technology and we are the second country in South East Asia to use this technology after Singapore,'' he said. 

He said the two robotic units were part of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's vision for telemedicine services to help promote a healthy society.  

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