Westmead Private notches up another ‘surgical first’

The first robotic bilateral inguinal node dissection in the southern hemisphere has been performed at Westmead Private Hospital.

Urological Cancer Surgeon Professor Manish Patel performed the delicate operation on a 62 year old patient who had penile cancer, using the da Vinci Xi robot.

Professor Patel said the procedure to remove cancerous lymph nodes from the groin is usually performed as open surgery, and this first bilateral case using robotic technology went very well.

“Penile cancer is very rare and an operation like an inguinal node dissection can also have a lot of complications if it goes wrong,” Professor Patel said.

“When you do it robotically you don’t have to make a large skin incision so you don’t affect blood supply. I also get a much better view and much better access to the area because normally you can’t even see those lymph nodes, but with the robotic technology I can actually see the lymphatic vessels and the nodes which can lead to a better operation with less complications.”

“Overseas a small handful of doctors have been performing this operation robotically and I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while but I needed the right patient to do it on. He was a healthy weight, did not have large, hard cancerous nodes and needed the lymph nodes removed on both sides so he was the perfect case for using the robot.”

Professor Patel said the combination of the da Vinci Xi robotic technology coupled with the experience of the Westmead Private theatre team led to a great outcome for the patient.

“The whole team was very experienced, they knew this equipment back to front and normally where patients are recovering in hospital for more than a week after this procedure, this patient was home on day two,” Prof Patel said.

“I perform most of my surgeries at Westmead Private Hospital and we have the latest version of the da Vinci XI robot. In urological cancer I think it’s just completely changed what we do and I think it will be the way of the future,” he said.

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