Dr Dirk Ligthelm from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, who has conducted over 500 robotically assisted surgeries, says robotic surgery is currently focused on the prostate, bladder and kidney at the hospital.
Ligthelm said The Urology Hospital, which pioneered robotic surgery in South Africa, had set its sights on becoming the robotic surgical centre of excellence in SA.
“Robotic surgery is expanding, and most major urological operations will be done robotically within the next few years. Already our robotic system is nearing capacity,” he added.
He said although every robotically assisted prostate operation was unique due to anatomical differences, the outcomes were all significantly changing lives: “It is very satisfying to see patients recover quickly, get to work faster and regain their confidence and sexual function so soon. These are some of the advantages of robotic surgery”.
Ligthelm said he and the other surgeons at The Urology Hospital were constantly improving their robotic surgical techniques for the best possible outcomes for patients. He said over 80% of radical prostatectomies (removal of cancerous prostate) at the hospital were now being done robotically, with open surgery becoming increasingly less common.
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men world-wide and to ensure early detection, Ligthelm urged men from the age of 40 to have yearly prostate examinations, adding that those with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened more often.