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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Four-armed robo-ops provide high-precision, local care for Cairns surgical patients


    A robot with four arms has been used to operate on 150 people since it was installed at Cairns Private Hospital a year ago, eliminating the need for patients to travel to Brisbane for minimally invasive surgery.

    The da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system is a state-of-the-art tool used for urology, gynaecology and colorectal surgery.

    It features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny instruments with ‘wrists’ that can bend and rotate far greater than the human hand.

    Cairns Private Hospital CEO Ben Tooth says it makes the most of the skill and expertise of the surgeon performing the procedure.

    “It offers many advantages, including smaller incisions, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time, as well as reduced blood loss and minimal scarring.”

    Mr Tooth says in particular, the da Vinci has revolutionised treatment for prostate cancer in the region.

    “The robotic system enables urologists to operate in the lower pelvis area through very small incisions with unmatched precision. 

    “It’s an area that’s previously been difficult to get to,” he said.

    When the robot has been used to remove prostates, in what’s known as a radical prostatectomy, patients have been able to leave the hospital in 1-2 days and return to normal activities within six weeks.

    Mr Tooth says it’s fine-precision, minimally invasive surgery that may otherwise have only been available in the south-east of the state.

    “This has allowed patients to obtain their care closer to home.

    “It provides people a greater choice in their health care needs,” he said.

    There are now four surgeons at the Cairns Private Hospital who have been trained to use the robot.