Precision is key when it comes to surgery, and what is better than one pair of steady surgeon hands – two.
Patients at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will now be able to benefit from a new technique which allows one surgeon to have just that, two pairs of ‘steady hands’. The ViKY Uterus Positioner robot (ViKY® UP) is a motorised device that remotely controls positioning of the uterus during complex gynaecologic surgeries.
Earlier this year, SGH’s surgeon performed the first multi-robot assisted surgery in Asia with the use of ViKY® UP alongside the da Vinci Si surgical robot on a patient suffering from severe endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition which affects about 10% of women, and in severe cases can cause severe abdominal pain and infertility.
Operating fully on voice command via a wireless Bluetooth headset, the device provides surgeons with full control of the position of the uterus for best access during minimally invasive surgery. Traditionally, an assisting technician controls the position of the uterus manually during surgery.
“With the new technique, the assistant no longer needs to position and maintain the uterus according to the surgeon’s needs. When the assistant gets fatigued, it becomes challenging for them to maintain the traction required on the uterus during the procedure’s critical phases to avoid injuring the ureters, and ensure stable positioning. ViKY doesn’t get tired and it holds the uterus in place throughout the course of the surgery, giving the surgeon full control of the uterus positioning directly from the operating console,” explains Dr Peter Barton-Smith, Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SGH.
“As part of the Academic Healthcare Cluster, we are always looking at innovative ways to improve patient care and clinical outcomes. Adding motorised uterine manipulation is the obvious next step to give the gynecologist the ultimate control and stability of the uterus during robotic-assisted surgery”, said A/Prof Tan Hak Koon, Head, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SGH.
Robotic surgery, whilst taking a little longer to perform, provides patients with lower levels of blood loss, reduced complications, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery to normal activities and a reduced risk of having to convert to open surgery compared with conventional keyhole surgery. This is achieved by the surgeon benefiting from the precise instruments, 3D HD enhanced view and improved ergonomics.