Both American and European centres for training personnel to operate with medical robots currently have queues of several months waiting for a basic course. This is a great opportunity for Poland, which may become a significant centre for training of surgical robotics personnel, believes Dr Pawel Wisz, an urologist from the Szpital na Klinach and a member of the board of the European Robotic Urological Society.
Coronavirus as an opportunity for Polish centres of surgical robotics
The demand for services using surgical robots is now so great that Intuitive Surgical’s training and access to training centres are beginning to clog up. American and European training centers have had two to three months’ queues for basic courses even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the coronavirus has extended them by another few months. Paradoxically, this situation is a great opportunity for Polish, young, emerging centers of surgical robotics development.
– This is a unique opportunity for Poland to join the leaders in Europe and become one of the world’s key centres for the training in robotic surgery – stresses Dr Pawel Wisz. – Once today, as a centre in Krakow, we are a private centre specialising in minimally invasive, robotic surgery in gynaecology, general surgery, colorectal surgery, bariatric surgery and, above all, in my specialisation – urology. We are known for the application of innovative ways of performing radical robotic prostatectomy, e.g. the Collar method, which maximises men’s chances of retaining their urinary tract function while maintaining a safe oncological result – he adds.
Working with robotic systems requires additional training
Modern technologies are increasingly integrated into medicine, which is why it is so important to adapt and launch a sufficiently large number of professional medical and surgical training courses for future doctors as soon as possible.
– The challenge we face is that technology is evolving at an extremely fast pace, and we in medicine must be ready to maintain, manage and share it. Above all, we must use it in a safe way so that we can really help our patients – explains Dr. Wisz. As the doctor emphasises, experience in open or laparoscopic surgery, with which most of the participants appear, is not enough to operate a surgical robot such as the da Vinci system. Working on a robotic system requires additional training, mainly in the area of machine behaviour in different conditions, dealing with potential complications that may occur during the surgery. It is also necessary to learn a completely new operating technique.
– The surgical simulation, which we already make available to our course participants thanks to the SimNow simulator, is certainly gaining in importance and popularity today, because it not only allows surgeons to perform surgery in virtual reality, but also allows to minimise the risk of complications during the actual operation – adds Dr Pawel Wisz.
USA: 99% of urological operations with robotic systems
According to experts, the medical industry in Poland have only touched the tip of the iceberg, which is open access to robotics training.
– I am convinced that soon our course participants will be able to watch the procedures in 3D technology and train from masters in their own homes. It is also important to remember that the more trained surgeons in robotic techniques, such as da Vinci, the more patients will be able to benefit from these minimally invasive procedures – emphasises the urologist.
For example, in the United States, the use of the da Vinci robot replaced open surgery techniques in 99% of urological patients. Reason? Surgery performed in this way is not only more precise for the doctor who performs it, but above all it brings a number of benefits to the patients. The following should be mentioned here: slight postoperative pain, lower doses of analgesics, lower percentage of complications, shorter catheterization and convalescence time. Robotic surgeries also give the possibility to obtain satisfactory effects in terms of continence and sexual function.