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Robotic surgery set for huge global growth — report

Robotic surgery is set for dramatic global growth due to an increasing incidence of chronic diseases and the success of the minimally invasive technology in treating these, according to a new report.

In 2013 The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, became the first institution in South Africa to acquire a robotic surgical system and has to date performed about 1 800 robotic procedures, by far the majority of the country’s total number — mostly prostatectomies (removal of cancerous prostate glands).

Other robotically assisted operations at the hospital include partial and full nephrectomies (removal of cancerous kidneys) and cystectomies (removal of the bladder) with urinary reconstruction. The technology is set to be applied to gynaecological, pelvic floor, colo-rectal and hernia procedures in the future.

The robotics report by Global Market Insights, notes that increased suffering from chronic disease, coupled with growing patient preference for minimally invasive procedures to prevent post-operative trauma and complications, is driving demand for robotic surgery. A separate study says that by next year, 80% of radical prostatectomies in the US will be performed robotically.

A scientific review last year showed that robotic surgery provides better functional results than conventional procedures in the removal of cancerous prostate glands.

Urologist, Dr Hugo van der Merwe, said research shows that just over 23% of all South African men will be diagnosed prostate cancer in their lifetime, adding: “robotic surgery is dramatically helping improve the treatment of prostate cancer by reducing the side effects and lowering levels of incontinence and impotence significantly compared to open surgery.”

The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, is the only specialised hospital of its kind in the country, comprising 24 urologists, 11 of whom are trained in robotic surgery – the highest concentration of robotic surgeons in the country. The Hospital also houses the only robotic training facility in the country with three qualified robotic proctors available to train future robotic surgeons.

For more information, contact 012 423-4000 or SMS the word INFO and your email address to 33000 (SMS charged at R1.50).

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What we Do

Urologists are highly trained specialist surgeons who use both medication and surgery as part of a comprehensive approach to care for men and women and children with urological problems. 

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The safety of our patients and colleagues is our number one priority. Your healthcare is important to us and we are actively working with and following guidance from the National Department of Health and the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases).

Kindly note the hospital has set up a Covid-19 task team and contingency plan and we are preparing for all eventualities.

Please confirm with your Doctor if you are still able to come for your consultation. However, if you have any of the following signs and symptoms then please cancel your appointment, self-isolate and contact the centralised helpline on 0800 029 999:
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To support screening for COVID-19, before entering the hospital, all prospective patients will adhere to the following:
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