Robot better than
By Paolo Zinatelli
has no fear of Western's three-armed robot.
A new three-armed
robot at the London Health Sciences Centre the first of its kind
in Canada is helping surgeons to improve their performance in the
"It was purchased by [the Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced
Robotics] and the [LHSC] in 1999," said Patrick Luke, a urologist
"CSTAR supports the robotic surgery at [LHSC]," said Reiza Rayman,
director of research for CSTAR. "[We are] there to support new research."
A similar robot was used to do a coronary artery bypass a few years ago,
Luke said. Over the last year and half, they began to see if it could
be used in abdominal operations, Luke said.
"The [robot] has extra wrists, so you have better 3D play,"
Luke used the robot for the first time during surgery on Jan. 6, to perform
an inter-abdominal procedure to correct a blockage in the drainage system
of a patient's kidney, he explained.
"[It's] perfect for this robot to work in this region, because you
can scale up or scale down your movements," Luke said. In addition,
the robot helps eliminate hand tremors, because the robot's arms have
wrists to help increase dexterity when suturing, he said.
Three years ago, the operation would have required a 10 centimetre gash
to fix a two millimetre region, Luke explained.
"The robot allows for repairs with small incisions," Rayman
said, adding it enhances a surgeon's manual dexterity.
"[I'm] not at the patient's side when we do this. I'm at a console,"
The robot creates a surgical environment in which there are far less errors,
he said, adding the robot is the first of its kind in Canada and can also
be used for cardiac, lung, thoracic and neo-natal surgeries
"It's really a little early to say [if there are benefits],"
said Marlene Shoucair, national communications director for the Kidney
Foundation of Canada, adding there is no track record of proven success
because [the technology] is so new.
"We [have now] applied the line-suturing technique from the chest
to the abdomen," Luke explained.