Robotic surgery in urology has been an established reality for many years, but it has never really taken off, because it is held back by the high costs.
A 62-year-old man recently underwent a prostate tumor removal operation at the A. Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital, as happens to many patients in Italy every year. But the surgery carried out on this sixty-year-old, who is fine and has already returned home, is special and different from all the others; it is in fact the first radical prostatectomy performed in Italy with the new Hugo robot. This ‘first’ was signed by Professor Pierfrancesco Bassi, director of the UOC of Urological Clinic of the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Polyclinic Foundation, Professor of Urology at the Catholic University, Rome campus.
The benefits of this approach are too many to ignore and more and more surgeons are grappling with the console of these robots, to the benefit of their patients.
“We finally have a system – commented Professor Bassi – which offers the same operational potential as the technologies currently on the market, with a reduction in costs. And the significance of this goes far beyond the purely economic aspect. Devices like these have the potential to open and extend these techniques even in the smallest hospitals and therefore to offer the advantages of robotic surgery to a wider range of patients ”.
To make it more ‘democratic’ or more accessible in terms of costs is the only strategy to give a boost to this discipline. Which is then the proposal of Hugo, the latest robot-surgeon developed by Medtronic.
It is clear that having equipment available that allows you to reap all the advantages of robotic surgery is very appreciable, even more so if a reduction in costs, usually significant, associated with traditional robotic surgery is envisaged.
“This will only facilitate access to robotic surgery in a greater number of hospitals – reflects Professor Bassi – offering a greater number of patients all the related benefits. Of course, current DRGs are not yet aligned with the robotic surgery revolution. But we hope that the expansion of the use of robotic surgery will soon lead the Ministry of Health to make this therapeutic approach even more accessible, which is destined to expand more and more “.
The Gemelli will be Hugo’s training center for other Italian surgeons. “Gemelli urology is an Italian and international reference center. The placement of this robot in an IRCCS – says Professor Bassi – will favor research and development in the field even in clinical applications that are not strictly urological; we will also contribute to the development of new devices, tools and accessories for Hugo, as well as to the further development of the robotic approach “.
The most widespread indication in the urological field is radical prostatectomy for the treatment of prostate cancer, which is the first cancer in order of frequency in males, representing 19% of all male cancers in our country (in 2020 they were estimated about 36 thousand new diagnoses).
This surgery is curative if the tumor is confined to the prostate, so early diagnosis is very important for treatment and prognosis. “Carrying out this intervention in robotic surgery – comments Professor Bassi – offers those benefits that fall within the concept of ‘personalized medicine, that is the possibility of treating the tumor according to the characteristics of the tumor itself and of the patient, almost like a tailor making the suit to measure. Robotic surgery is currently able to satisfy situations of major surgery in the urological field “.