Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, received an update on the progress of robotic surgeries in the Western Cape. Picture: LEON LESTRADE/INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS


(From a news article published on IOL News 04 May 2024)

Cape Town - MEC for Health Wellness MEC Nomafrench Mbombo joined clinicians and staff from Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospitals to receive an update on the progress of the Da Vinci robotic surgery programmes and the impact they have had on health services.

Doctors and employees from these hospitals were joined by Mbombo for an update on the developments of the robotic surgical projects.

According to the department, since 2022, the department had performed 605 robotic surgeries with two machines purchased at a combined cost of R80 million in 2021.

“After the initial rollout of colorectal surgery in February and March 2022, the machines were then expanded to include urology and gynaecology. The theatre staff have been trained or upskilled by Da Vinci-accredited personnel. This has led to even greater skill transfers for staff members,” said the department.

It said that currently robotic surgery systems were being used for general surgery and abdominal wall and colorectal surgeries. In urology, they are used for prostatectomies, cystectomies, and nephrectomies. In gynaecology, they are used to treat endometriosis, as well as in applications for pelvic floor urogynaecology.

Lorraine Gys, 65, from Melton Rose, was the first recipient of robotic surgery at a public hospital – Tygerberg Hospital – in South Africa.

“My recovery was very quick in comparison with the other patients in the ward. I could wash myself after the operation, whereas the other patients had to be assisted.”

Leon Koks, 65, from Athlone, was the first patient of the Groote Schuur Hospital programme. He said he had mixed feelings when he was approached to be one of the first patients to receive robotic rectal cancer surgery. “But soon, I had a feeling of calmness as I was constantly being updated as to the procedure that was to take place,” Koks said.

Relief overcame me when I realised that I was in the hands of a very good surgeon. The medical staff were compassionate and attentive. The recovery period both impressed and amazed me.”

Mbombo said: “Here in the Western Cape, we have brought first-world solutions to a public healthcare system that is often considered third-world. I am deeply impressed with the progress of robotic surgeries at these two hospitals and the impact they have had on our surgical outcomes.”

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