Capital Health’s first surgical robot
joins the medical staff
Capital Health’s Royal Alexandra Hospital has received a surgical robot,
a new tool designed to further develop the region’s minimally invasive
surgery and robotics program. The robot – the da Vinci S with high
definition – is said to be the most technologically advanced surgical
robot on the market today in its field.
“This robot will be in use in the operating room this fall,” says Dr.
Dan Birch, Medical Director of Capital Health’s new Centre for the
Advancement of Minimally Invasive Surgery (CAMIS) and Associate
Professor, Surgery, at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University
CAMIS, which officially opens this fall, will further enhance the
region’s minimally invasive surgery (MIS) program. “Surgical robots are
the way of the future,” says Dr. Birch. “This will further establish
Capital Health as a leader in the use of MIS, including the development
of a strong robotics program.
“The robot looks a little like an octopus with four arms – one to hold
the camera and three working arms to hold surgical instruments. Capital
Health and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation – thanks to donations
from The Stollery Charitable Foundation and Jack and Esther Ondrack from
the Edmonton area – provided the $4 million needed to purchase the robot
and instruments, and to retro-fit an operating room at the Royal Alex.
Initially, the robot will be used for laparascopic radical
prostatectomies – a procedure that removes the prostate gland and some
surrounding tissue – to treat prostate cancer.
However, it is anticipated that other surgical programs such as
gynecology, pediatrics, and thoracic, cardiac, and general surgery will
also look to the use of robotics in the future.
“For urology patients, the robot will reduce the risk of impotency and
urinary incontinence, and improve outcomes. In addition, robot-assisted
radical prostatectomy surgeries can be safely performed on obese
patients, who have traditionally required open surgery,” says Dr. Mike
Hobart (pictured), a urologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and
Assistant Clinical Professor, Surgery, at the Faculty of Medicine and
Dentistry, University of Alberta, and one of the region’s most
experienced minimally invasive surgeons.
“Robot-assisted surgery allows more precise surgery in difficult areas
where there is limited space in the body. It also improves the
ergonomics for surgeons and still offers patients the benefits of MIS,
including shorter hospital stays, less blood loss and pain, and a faster
return to productive lives.”
The Urology program at the Royal Alex has one of Canada’s most
experienced teams in minimally invasive urology procedures, having done
more than 1,000 laparascopic prostatectomies and 500 radical
nephrectomies (to treat kidney cancer) since 1999.
As a resource within CAMIS, the robot presents significant opportunities
to advance regional goals of excellent patient care, conducting
ground-breaking research, and providing exceptional teaching and
training opportunities in MIS. CAMIS will be the first in Western Canada
dedicated to the advancement of MIS.
“We’re the first site in Alberta and one of only four in Canada to have
this robot,” said Dr. Hobart. “The robot, along with our expertise in
minimally invasive surgery (MIS), gives us a great opportunity to
establish Capital Health as a leader in the use of MIS, including
About Capital Health
Capital Health in Edmonton is Canada’s largest health region and is
affiliated with the University of Alberta, providing integrated health
services to one million residents in Edmonton and the surrounding area.
Capital Health acts as a referral centre to central and northern
Alberta, the North and the Prairies, providing specialized services such
as trauma and burn treatment, organ transplants and high-risk