Lahore: The King Edward Medical University (KEMU) has moved a PC-I of a project to the Punjab health department to start robotic surgery – a new technique involving minimally-invasive procedures – to make the attached Mayo Hospital the first public sector teaching institute of the province to offer this latest mode of treatment to the patients with “100pc success rate”.

Earlier, this facility was being used by the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) in Karachi, where the surgeons have performed more than 1,500 urology-related robotic surgeries since 2012. An official privy to the information says the initiative is part of the recent major reforms initiated by Maryam Nawaz-led provincial government to equip the public sector medical institutes with the latest technologies in the domain of general surgery on the model of various advanced countries, including the neighboring India.

To run the project, the Mayo Hospital has also hired two highly trained robotic surgeons — assistant professors Dr Usman Ismail Butt and Umar Warraich — from the private sector, along witha technician in robotic surgery, Abdul Rehman, the official says. The government created a BS-17 post to make appointment of Mr Rehman through the Punjab Public Service Commission, he adds.Sharing the background of the move, the official says that robotic surgery has revolutionised the field of medicine, offering patients a minimally-invasive alternative to traditional surgeries.

He says the robotic surgery mode is being adopted gradually, as in the recent years various private sector healthcare facilities in Lahore have performed over 450 robotic procedures, claiming 100 percent success rate so far.

Scheme envisages high-precision, low-cost procedures in the public sector

Particularly, the introduction of advanced robotic equipment in the private health sector, such as the CMR Surgical Robotic System, has enabled surgeons to perform a wide range of procedures.

The official says that KEMU Vice Chancellor Prof Mahmood Ayyaz played a significant role in the success of robotic surgery project by offering his expertise, along with his trained team. in a private sector health facility.

He says that Prof Ayaz’s team catered to the patients hailing not only from all over Pakistan, but also from Afghanistan and India, seeking robotic surgery. The official says over 95 percent of such patients report excellent outcomes after undergoing robotic surgeries.

Prof Ayyaz and his team have also to their credit the successful execution of the first robotic Adrenalectomy in Pakistan, which paved the way for the robotic surgery project at the Mayo Hospital.

Following introduction of the robotic surgical system in the private sector with huge investments, the KEMU VC held a series of meetings at the varsity to make Mayo Hospital a hub for robotic surgeons in the public sector.

The official further says that Karachi’s SIUT offers robotic surgery services only in urology specialty, while the Mayo Hospital project will be ‘unique’ in the sense that it will offer robotic procedures in general surgery, gynecology and urology, simultaneously. The hospital will offer major surgeries of gallbladder, appendix, small and large intestines, uterus, ovaries, prostate and kidneys etc.

The scheme, if materialised, will also help produce highly trained young surgeons in bulk as the institute houses many departments and qualified FCPS medics, the official hopes.

“The robotic surgery offers numerous benefits for patients, including less pain and scarring, reduced risk of complications, fast recovery, extraordinary accuracy and precision, less blood loss and transfusions, minimal operative cost and good surgical outcomes”, he says.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2024

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