Surgeon praises team after robot milestone

Epworth HealthCare orthopaedic surgeon Mr Andrew Tang with his theatre team

Surgeons often attract all the attention, especially when using ground-breaking new technology – but there is always a team in the background helping them to perform those life-changing procedures for patients.

After reaching the significant milestone of 1,000 joint replacement operations with the Mako surgical robot, Epworth HealthCare’s Mr Andrew Tang was quick to credit the role of his colleagues.

“The theatre team is extremely important,” said Mr Tang, who was one of the first surgeons at the Victorian private healthcare group to use the robot in knee and hip replacement surgery when it arrived at Epworth Richmond in early 2018.

“The robot must be prepared before each surgery, with specific planning for each patient,” he added.

“Once in theatre, there is a team involving the surgeon and assistant, anaesthetic staff, theatre technicians, nurses and the scrub team, all working together, to get the best possible outcome for the patient.”

For his 1,000th patient, an elderly woman with arthritis in her knee who could barely walk, the Mako technology enabled Mr Tang to plan the procedure precisely and implant the replacement joint.

“An increasing number of these robotic surgeries are revision operations, where patients previously had a joint replacement using traditional surgery,” he said.

“Over the years, the joint has worn out and patients are opting to have it replaced in surgery using the robotic technology due to its many advantages.”

The Richmond facility in Melbourne is the state’s largest robotic surgery hospital, while Mako surgical robots are also used at Epworth Eastern and Epworth Geelong.

“Epworth has a history of making an investment in modern technology and robotics,” Mr Tang said.

“All of the surgeons are grateful that Epworth had the vision to embrace robotic technology to bring us into the 21st century.”

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