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Joanna Szyman for PMR: Robotics – the future of surgery

szpital na klinach da vinci

Seven da Vinci surgical robots are currently installed in Poland. The conditions for further dynamic growth are, among others, the processes of personnel training and education. Therefore, since August, at the Szpital na Klinach in Krakow, a training programme for doctors has been launched in the field of procedures performed with the use of the da Vinci surgical support system, says Joanna Szyman, President of the Management Board of the Neo Hospital Group, to which the facility belongs.

One million da Vinci operations in 2018

According to Joanna Szyman, the future of medical robotics will be shaped by a constant increase in expenditure on research and development, growing demand from medical centres and growing demands from patients.

On a global scale, medical robots are not a new phenomenon. – For over 20 years they have been used with great success in general surgery, oncology, gynaecology, urology and bariatry. More than 6 million operations have been carried out worldwide with the support of the most popular robot system, including about 1 million last year. And what is important, a further increase in the number of performed surgeries is predicted by about 15-17 percent year on year. This shows the scale of the growing phenomenon on a global scale – explains Joanna Szyman.

Germany and Italy European leaders in da Vinci robotic surgery

Surgical robots are tools that combine the advantages of low invasiveness with unattainable precision, many times exceeding the possibilities of previous solutions. Using a robot, the surgeon receives image transmission from the inside of the body, the surgery area is visible at high magnification, and the computer translates the operator’s gestures into strictly defined movements of surgical instruments. The robot not only allows for precise removal of infected tissues, but also minimizes the area of surgical intervention. Currently, procedures using da Vinci robots are performed in six Polish cities: Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw, Torun, Bialystok and Krakow.

Seven da Vinci surgical systems are currently installed in Poland. This is more than twice as much as in July last year, when only two such systems operated in our country to a limited extent. The European leader in robotic surgery is Germany, where currently there are about 137 da Vinci robots and Italy, where there are about 120 robots. This is one of the reasons why Poles often go to these countries to treat complicated diseases, especially urological ones – says Joanna Szyman.

If we manage to maintain the recently observed growth of the robotics market in surgery in our country, a large part of the money that flows out of Poland today and supports the development of foreign clinics will be left in the domestic health care system, according to the President of the Board of Neo Hospital.

At the Szpital na Klinach they will train doctors for robotic operations

There are already about 43,000 qualified surgeons working with more than 5,000 da Vinci systems worldwide. The conditions for further dynamic development of this segment, apart from investments in high-end equipment, are also the processes of personnel education and education. Since August, a training programme for physicians has been launched in the Szpital na Klinach in Krakow in the scope of procedures performed with the use of the da Vinci surgical support system. – It is the first facility in Poland to implement an open training programme for doctors in robotics techniques – Joanna Szyman emphasizes.

Workshops are held in Polish and English, in groups of 4 people. During three days of training, doctors learn the rules of da Vinci robot work, the instruments and camera navigation. They also have the opportunity to practice on trainers and take part in virtual trainings on SimNow simulator, produced and patented by the American concern Intuitive Surgical. The course ends with a practical and theoretical exam. The course is also available for doctors from outside Poland.

The head of the course is Professor Tomasz Rogula, a specialist in metabolic, bariatric, laparoscopic, robot and general surgery, who has been working in the USA for over 20 years, and recently also in Poland.

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