People 'n' Issues

Another first for robot surgery in Africa

February 18th, 2016
The Urology Hospital in Pretoria has successfully conducted Africa’s first robotic-assisted removal of a cancerous bladder (cystectomy) and prostate (cysto-prostatectomy).
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Dr Hugo van der Merwe, who performed the surgery, also used the robotic system to reconstruct a new bladder (neobladder) from the patient’s bowel, after removing the cancerous bladder and prostate in what is normally a high morbid surgery.

“Success using the robotic system has been excellent,” said van der Merwe. “The patient had aggressive bladder cancer and needed standard post-operative chemotherapy. The recovery is remarkable.”

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The 36-year-old patient now has perfect bladder control, is fully potent and enjoys normal bodily functions without the burden of a colostomy bag.

Van der Merwe added: “Standard surgical procedures are associated with very high morbidity (complication) rates. Even in the best medical centres in the world there is a 30% chance of secondary surgery within the first 30 days after operating as well as significant problem such as blood loss, pneumonia and embolism. The robotic system aids in significantly less morbidity and recovery time is much faster. We have not as yet had to take any patients back to theatre due to complications.”

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