In a world first, a completely robotic surgery and anesthesia has been performed at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The DaVinci surgical robot, which lets surgeons work from remote locations, was put to work this summer, whereas the anesthesia robot, nicknamed McSleepy, has been providing automated anesthesia since 2008. The two combined to perform the first all-robotic surgery on a prostatectomy patient at the Montreal General Hospital.
“Collaboration between DaVinci, a surgical robot, and anesthetic robot McSleepy, seemed an obvious fit; robots in medicine can provide health care of higher safety and precision, thus ultimately improving outcomes,” said Dr. TM Hemmerling of McGill University and MUHC’s Department of Anesthesia, who is also a neuroscience researcher at the Research Institute (RI) of the MUHC.
“The DaVinci allows us to work from a workstation operating surgical instruments with delicate movements of our fingers with a precision that cannot be provided by humans alone,” said Dr. A. Aprikian, MUHC urologist in chief and Director of the MUHC Cancer Care Mission, and also a researcher in the Cancer Axis at the RI MUHC. He and his team of surgeons operate the robotic arms from a dedicated workstation via video control with unsurpassed 3D HD image quality.
“Providing anesthesia for robotic prostatectomy can be challenging because of the specific patient positioning and the high degree of muscle relaxation necessary to maintain perfect conditions for the surgical team,” added Dr. Hemmerling. “Automated anesthesia delivery via McSleepy guarantees the same high quality of care every time it is used, independent from the subjective level of expertise. It can be configured exactly to the specific needs of different surgeries, such as robotic surgery.”
“Obviously, there is still some work needed to perfect the all robotic approach – from technical aspects to space requirements for the robots,” added Dr. Hemmerling. “Whereas robots have been used in surgery for quite some time, anesthesia has finally caught up. Robots will not replace doctors but help them to perform to the highest standards.”
Combining both robots, the specialists at the MUHC can deliver the most modern and accurate patient care. The researchers will use the results of this project to test all robotic surgery and anesthesia in a larger scale of patients and various types of surgery. ”This should allow for faster, safer and more precise surgery for our patients” concluded Dr. Aprikian.
About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) One of the world’s foremost academic health centres, the MUHC offers exceptional and integrated patient-centric care, research and teaching. Highly committed to the continuum of care in its community and affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, The Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital of the MUHC value multidisciplinary service throughout the lifespan, innovative technologies and practices, strategic partnerships and leadership in knowledge transfer. The MUHC is currently carrying out a $2.25-billion Redevelopment Project on three campuses—the Mountain, the Glen and Lachine—designed to provide healthcare professionals with an effective environment in which to ensure patients and their families benefit from The Best Care for Life. The campuses are also anchored in best sustainable-development practices, including LEED® and BOMA BESt guidelines. www.muhc.ca www.muhc.ca/construction
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and health-care hospital research centre. Research is organized by eleven research axes (or programs). Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Institute is the research arm of the McGill University Health Centre affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. The Institute supports over 600 researchers, 1,000 graduate students, post-docs and fellows devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. Over 1000 clinical research studies are conducted within our hospitals each year. The Research Institute of the MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ). www.muhc.ca/research/
About McGill University
McGill University, founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, is Canada’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 35,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 150 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,200 francophones – with more than 6,800 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body.
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