Robotic surgery (also known as robotic-assisted surgery), is the most advanced form of surgery in Singapore amongst the minimally invasive surgery (MIS) platform – procedures performed through keyhole incisions (8mm) on the body. Robotic surgery is the most advanced type of MIS and is used in place of surgeries that were once traditionally done by open methods, i.e. ones that involve making a big incision on the body. Here at ICTS, robotic lung resection is the preferred modality used for patients who will be undergoing lung resections.
Robotic surgery in Singapore consists of a system that includes one robotic arm with a camera attached to it, as well as several mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. These arms are thin, long, and hollow tubes that are inserted into the body through the small incisions made on the surgical site. The surgeon will then control these arms through a computer console located near the operating bed. The console allows the surgeon to get magnified views of the surgical site in high-definition, thereby allowing them to perform complex procedures with great precision. Other members of the surgical team will also be present during the operation to assist the main surgeon.
Given the nature of robotic surgery, many surgeons who use the robotic surgery system have found it to be more precise and accurate as the use of mechanical arms allow surgeons to move with greater precision, range of motion, and control compared to doing the surgery with their own hands. The use of the stereoscopic 3D video camera also allows better visualisation of the surgical site with high-definition views that will be seen in the console (has better magnification than the naked eye and provides surgeons with greater depth perception of the surgical site). Given the greater depth perception, precision, range of motion and control, robotic surgery is also very accurate.
Furthermore, from a patient’s perspective, given the minimally invasive nature of robotic surgery, there is also a lower risk of complications such as bleeding, pain, infection, and scarring. Since the incisions are also smaller, patients will also have a shorter recovery time and shorter hospital stay. Having a shorter recovery time enables the patient to get back to their normal lives as soon as possible or to head further onto oncological treatment for their lung cancers.
Based on a study conducted in 2019, overall survival rates following lung resection for early-stage lung cancer was 86.1% with robotic surgery and 83.2% for open surgery, demonstrating that robotic surgery is a safe and feasible technique that can bring about comparable long-term and progression-free survival rates.
The advantages of robotic surgery are many, with the main one being that it enables surgeries to be carried out in a minimally invasive manner with smaller incisions created in the body. This allows for lower risk of surgical complications such as bleeding, infection, and pain, and also allows for shorter hospital stays and recovery times. There is also smaller scars after recovery.
Furthermore, through the use of the robotic surgery system, robotic surgery allows surgeons to have better visualisation of the surgical site as well as the ability to perform the surgery with greater precision through the use of mechanical arms.
Disadvantages of robotic surgery include:
Anyone can undergo robotic surgery as long as the indication for the surgery is correct. In fact, some patients who may not be a candidate for surgery by open methods, will become candidates on the robotic platform due to the minimally invasive nature of this procedure.
So the decision to undergo robotic surgery depends on indication, fitness for surgery and the discussion with your surgeon, who will determine if the robotic platform is suitable for your case.
Robotic surgery is a new type of MIS that is effective, cost-effective, and more accurate. Here at ICTS, Dr Aneez is trained in robotic surgery to treat many lung conditions. To find out if robotic surgery is an option for you, do come to our centre and we will answer any doubts and queries that you may have, in addition to deciding the best treatment modality should you need one.
Spaggiari, Lorenzo, et al. “A Brief Report on Survival After Robotic Lobectomy for Early-Stage Lung Cancer.” Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 19 August 2019, https://www.jto.org/article/S1556-0864(19)30666-5/fulltext. Accessed 8 December 2022.