Expert advice and quality care

At The Urology Hospital we pride ourselves with state-of-the art facilities to make your stay with us as pleasurable as possible.

Would you trust a robot to operate on you?

Robotics is the way of the future, says Dr Kabo Ijane, Africa’s first black robotic surgeon.

According to South African urologist, Dr Kabo Ijane, who practices at the Urology Hospital in Pretoria and qualified as a robotic surgeon, after training both locally and in Europe, it’s imperative that more surgeons embrace robotic surgery so that it can become a mainstream practice in hospitals around the world. Ijane is also Africa’s first black robotic surgeon.

Robotic surgery has successfully been used in almost 2 000 major urological procedures at the Pretoria Urology Hospital. It became the first South African institution to acquire a robot six years ago, and was the first hospital in South Africa to perform robotic surgery, implement a robotic pharmacy picking system and now has one of only a handful of 3D laparoscopic surgical units in South Africa.

This form of surgery is experiencing dramatic global growth due to multiple benefits and is expected to hit $24 Billion by 2025. But what is it and how does it work?

Woman undergoes rare double robotic surgery

A cancer patient is recovering at home after being operated on in two areas at the same time in a rare procedure using a robot.

‘Robotic-assisted’ surgery

When you think of robotic surgery, the first thought that comes to mind is probably that it’s only you and a robot in the operating theatre – without any surgeon involved. But robotic surgery just refers to a scenario where human surgeons use robotic tools to operate on you.

The robotic surgical system enters the patient through a tiny keyhole incision. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table, which gives a high-definition, 3D view of the surgical site.

The robotic instruments are powerful and useful, but the surgeon is always in control. For this reason, it’s best to think of it as “robot-assisted” surgery.

The benefits

The top advantage of robotic surgery is that it allows surgeons to perform complex surgical procedures using a minimally invasive approach. The robotic instruments also give surgeons a 3D view of the inside of a human body, which is a tremendous advantage over standard laparoscopic surgery where everything viewed is two-dimensional (2D).

“Robotic surgery affords us more precision, allows us to access difficult places, and there’s the advantage of magnification and three-dimensional viewing,” said Ijane, who is one of 17 qualified robotic surgeons at the Urology Hospital.

The 3D view introduces “depth” for the surgeon, and this better visualisation extends their ability to perform a surgery more precisely and allows them to perform very technical and delicate actions.

“From a patient’s perspective, recovery is much quicker, they spend much less time in hospital (about two days compared to up to 10 days for open surgery), they’re back at work much sooner – sometimes within two weeks – and generally don’t require blood transfusions,” he added.

Without the robotic equipment, surgeons often have to make large incisions in order to reach the organs they need to operate on. This leaves the patient with big, ugly scars and long recovery times. However, with robotic surgery, because the incision is a lot smaller than with traditional surgery, it looks more cosmetically pleasing.

The instruments can also access very tight spaces that surgeons can’t reach with conventional instrumentation during open or laparoscopic surgery.

Less blood loss

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages is that there’s less blood loss. The Swedish Medical Centre states that about 30% of patients will get a blood transfusion after open surgery, but the transfusion rate is less than 1% when robotic surgery is used. If patients don’t require a blood transfusion, this means they won’t feel anaemic and will have more energy than after open surgery.

Since qualifying, Ijane has conducted 11 prostatectomies (removal of cancerous prostate) and plans to expand to other procedures. Ijane adds that the Urology Hospital also conducts regular robotic procedures for bladder and kidney conditions and says the future of robotics may include reconstructive urinary work, pelvic floor procedures, ventral hernias and gynaecological operations such as hysterectomies and myomectomies.

“With robotic surgery the sky’s the limit. The potential to do multiple procedures is endless and is limited only by what patients and medical aids can afford,” he said.

Should all surgeries involve robots?

Because robotic surgery allows for more precise vision, instrument control and dexterity, it is ideal for many surgeries. It’s gradually replacing traditional open surgery in many fields, including prostate, pelvis, urology, cancer of the rectum and various other ailments.

It’s critical that each patient be evaluated on an individual basis, as robotic surgery is not the best option in all cases – which means that there will still be a need for laparoscopic and open surgery in the foreseeable future.

Image: Getty

Sourced from News24

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

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. 


Visiting Hours

  • 15h00 - 16h00
  • 19h30 – 20h00
  • 10h30 - 11h00
  • 15h00 - 16h00
  • 19h00 - 20h00


Coming To The Urology Hospital

How We Are Doing Our Part In The Fight Against COVID-19

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:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of Breath

To support screening for COVID-19, before entering the hospital, all prospective patients will adhere to the following:
• Complete a Travel History form
• Undergo temperature screening

Should any of the following signs or symptoms be found, you will be requested to go home, self-isolate and contact the centralised helpline on 0800 029 999:
• Flu-like symptoms (sore throat, cough or chills)
• Fever of 37.8 or above

NB: Please notify the person doing your Travel History if you’re:
• Over 70
• Have any underlying health conditions
• Are pregnant

To protect our patients and staff from the potential risk of COVID-19, we are currently restricting visiting of patients to exceptional circumstances only.

We appreciate your understanding and co-operation.

Should you need to re-arrange an appointment at the Urology Hospital please call: 012 423 4000 or your Doctor’s rooms.

Book an Appointment
SMS the word "INFO" and your email address to 33000 (SMS charged at R1.50)