April 9, 2019 9:28 am
Updated: April 9, 2019 10:36 am

Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s surgical robot cuts down on recovery time for cancer patients

Robotic surgery is fast becoming the norm in hospitals. Surgeons are able to use these high-tech devices to perform a variety of procedures that mean shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times for patients. A demonstration of the robot-assisted surgical system was made at Kingston General Hospital.

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Kingston Health Sciences Centre is using a robot dubbed “Da Vinci” to fight various forms of cancer.

“The robotic platform allows us to advanced laparoscopic surgeries,” Dr. Rob Siemens said. “So [it’s] minimally invasive surgery.”

Surgeons can use the new robot to look through a microscope while using a joystick — the movements of the joystick are reflected in the movements of robotic arms.

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Kingston Health Sciences Centre has been utilizing the Da Vinci since the end of 2018 for cases of colon and prostate cancer, as well as other similar surgeries.

Like anything, practice makes perfect, and this machine is no different. Siemens said the surgery times with the Da Vinci are much faster now that they’ve gotten more than 20 surgeries under their belt.

“At the beginning these surgeries are a little bit longer for sure,” Siemens said. “Although with some increase in experience, the times are actually equivalent to what we would do normally.”

But the biggest difference comes in the robot’s precision. Using the Da Vinci, surgeons are able to do the same amount of work by making smaller incisions.

Where patients will really notice the difference is in the recovery time, and how little of it there is compared to what would be otherwise expected.

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“In a way it was uneventful for me,” said David Bailey, who was one of the Da Vinci’s first patients. “Which I appreciate a great deal. Because it is a big deal, but it was also smooth.”

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