MEXICO CITY – Mexico might have come late to robotic surgery due to the high costs and a certain resistance to undertaking a new technology, but now with its benefits of minimum invasiveness and more precision it is coming into its own, Dr. Elias Horta said Tuesday.
“In Mexico it’s considered new,” but in “advanced countries it’s been used for 20 years. We took a long time adopting such procedures because of the cost,” the vice president and doctor of ABC Medical Center told EFE in an interview.
“In almost every hospital we weren’t sure if it was indicated for certain procedures,” Horta said.
“The surgeon operates through a control panel at 2 meters (6½ feet) from the patient, seated. He doesn’t get so tired and can be more precise and keep his hands from shaking,” he said.
The robot, like a giant version of a videogame with a screen, a stethoscopic device, pedals and two joysticks, is called Da Vinci.
The robot’s arms, which can revolve 360 degrees, open orifices in the patient’s body of between 5-8 millimeters (1/5 and 1/3 inches).
It reduces the patient’s bleeding significantly and leads to a quicker, less painful recovery.
Performed with this technique are “urological procedures, prostatectomies, bladder and kidney surgeries, as well as hysterectomies.
According to data of the Cyber Robotics company, which markets the robots, more than 200 robotic operations have been performed since 2015 by only 10 robots: two in Monterrey, one in Guadalajara, one in Mexico State and the rest in Mexico City.
Unlike Mexico, Latin American countries like Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina have been using this technology for several years.
Just two days ago, the 20th of November National Medical Center performed the country’s first robot-assisted cardiovascular surgery.
Some 3,600 such robots are estimated to exist worldwide and since 2001 have performed 3 million operations in 54 countries.
These surgeries are a great help to doctors, not only because these operations take less time and their invasiveness is minimal, but also because of the greater precision it provides surgeons.
“The difference with laparoscopic surgery is that the latter only gives us two dimensions, up-and-down and across, while robotic surgery offers depth, a fourth dimension, which makes the operation that much safer,” Horta said.
But while it represents the future of operations in the world, in Mexico there are still few surgeons able to use robots since no institutions offer the necessary training, so those interested must learn the technology abroad.
A robotic surgical operation at a private institution in Mexico costs an average of 177,000 pesos (approximately $9,883).