First robotic surgeries undertaken at Geelong Private Hospital

The evolution of healthcare technology has improved drastically in the past decades, changing the face of healthcare provision.

Geelong Private Hospital and their newly acquired da Vinci Xi robot are testament to this.

As part of the robotic surgery training program at Geelong Private Hospital, Professor Damien Bolton and Mr Karl Brasilis performed Victoria's first robotic surgery, a prostate operation, with the Xi model on 25 April and shortly after on 30 April Dr Karl Najjar performed the first gynaecological surgery.

Professor Bolton explains how the da Vinci Xi robot is changing the face of surgery, "The da Vinci Xi robot undertakes the surgical aspects with the specialist manually controlling it via a console. The doctor is able to see, via a state-of-the-art inbuilt imaging system, elements that would not always be visible to the naked eye."

Both Victorian first surgeries were deemed a success by both the surgeons and patients.

"The first robotic urological surgery, undertaken with the da Vinci Xi, at Geelong Private Hospital is a massive achievement for the hospital and a great addition to healthcare services in Geelong," said Professor Bolton.

Dr Najjar agrees and states that "A key capability of the robot is treating specific female health conditions including hysterectomies, endometriosis, uterine fibroids as well as cancer of the uterus.

Patients will certainly benefit from Geelong Private Hospital's cutting edge da Vinci Xi robot."

The first patient to undergo surgery, Mark Freeman, said that "From the moment I stepped into the hospital it has been a positive experience. This is no small surgery to have performed and the staff have all been accommodating and the care faultless. This procedure has sped up my recovery and I'm feeling great 12 hours post-op."

Susan, who underwent a robotic total laparoscopic hysterectomy, said that "I am very happy with the way my hysterectomy surgery turned out - with only a few small incisions to show for it. There was no pain at all at any time and I was able to be discharged after two nights hospital stay with no complications. Now home, I am having no problems with mobility or discomfort. I have high praises for Dr Karl Najjar for his wonderful care from the first consultation to post recovery."

As an early adopter Dr Najjar explains that technology is certainly reshaping medicine. "I've seen this first hand over the course of my career. When I first started as a surgeon surgeries took longer and were more invasive. The invention of the robot has changed this, especially for gynaecological patients. Being able to provide the option of robotic surgery means less visible scarring and only three to four keyhole incisions will help ensure a faster recovery and allow them to get back to their daily lives quicker than what would have been previously possible with traditional surgical methods"explained Dr Najjar.

Geelong Private Hospital's da Vinci Xi system offers up-to-date technology compared to earlier da Vinci systems including:

  • A new overhead instrument arm architecture designed to facilitate anatomical access from virtually any position
  • A new endoscope digital architecture that creates a simpler, more compact design with improved visual definition and clarity
  • An ability to attach the endoscope to any arm, providing flexibility for visualizing the surgical site
  • Smaller, thinner arms with newly designed joints that offer a greater range of motion than ever before
  • Longer instrument shafts designed to give surgeons greater operative reach.

Geelong Private Hospital General Manager, Janine Haigh explains that the inclusion of the da Vinci Xi robot is part of a dedicated service to provide patients from the Greater Geelong and Barwon areas with access to state-of-the-art healthcare technology, without having to travel lengthy distances.

"In our local community we are seeing an increase in the number of eligible patients that would benefit from the robot technology. With the introduction of the da Vinci Xi we are able to provide a streamlined surgical process that provides better healthcare outcomes for our patients," says Janine.

The potential demand for Geelong Private Hospital's robotic surgery is high, so much so that the hospital has introduced a no out of pocket expenses for eligible urology patients.

"There has been a lot of talk within the health industry about the introduction of robot technology and patients are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of robotic surgery, by offering no out of pocket costs the technology is able more accessible to a greater percentage of urology and gynaecological patients in our community," explains Janine.

Geelong Private Hospital have a number of gynaecological and urological robotic surgeries scheduled over the upcoming months.