Repairing “the snip”
Gynaecology procedures now offered
robotically at Wollongong Private
Dr Dharmesh Kothari (centre) and the surgical team following Wollongong Private Hospital’s first robotic hysterectomy
10 years of robotic surgery in Queensland
Greenslopes Private Hospital has celebrated 10 years since becoming the first Queensland hospital to
offer robotic surgery to its patients.
The technology was first used at the Brisbane site in
December 2008 when the urology team performed
a robotic prostatectomy.
Since then it has continued to grow and is now used in other
specialties including gynaecology and general surgery.
Urologist A/Prof Peter Heathcote said it had been a game-changer
for his specialty.
“In my practice I don’t do open surgery prostatectomies
anymore – I only do robotics,” he said.
A/Prof Heathcote said he estimated between 75 and 80 per
cent of all urological surgeries were now performed using
“The patients have voted with their feet there’s no doubt
about that. The use of robotic surgery affords a much more
rapid recovery and much less pain,” he said.
8 The Ramsay Way 2018 | 04
Robotic surgeries are minimally invasive and involve the use
of mechanical arms operated by a surgeon.
Urologist Dr Roger Watson said part of the success of the
technological procedures at Greenslopes Private Hospital
was due to the hard work not only of the surgeons, but other
doctors, nurses and medical staff.
“It has been a great example of combining state-of-the-art
technology, high level training, a body of highly-skilled
clinicians, added with a focused management team to deliver
a world-class program with world-class outcomes,” he said.
Urologist Dr Peter Swindle said he, Dr Heathcote, Dr Watson,
Dr Glen Wood and Dr Greg Malone were part of the original
team, but the number of specialists performing the surgeries
at Greenslopes Private Hospital had since increased to more
Men who undergo a vasectomy reversal can now
have the operation performed robotically using
the da Vinci Xi surgical system at a second
location in Australia.
Urologists Dr Greg Malone and Dr Glen Wood have jointly
accomplished the first procedure in South East Queensland
– at Greenslopes Private Hospital.
A vasectomy reversal is performed to re-enable
reproduction. It involves re-joining the ends of a man’s
sperm-carrying tubes – the vas deferens – which were
cut and sealed during his vasectomy.
The two Brisbane Urology Clinic surgeons have now
successfully launched a Robotic Vasectomy Reversal
Program using the da Vinci Xi surgical system.
Dr Malone said, “This technology offers some major
advantages for this type of procedure from a technical
point of view. The da Vinci Xi robot allows greater dexterity
and overcomes the challenge of naturally-occurring hand
tremors of the surgeon.”
Dr Wood said, “The combination of magnification and depth
of focus afforded by the robot is superior to the microscope
used in conventional techniques. The robot maintains focus
during the delicate suturing when the ends of the vas are
moving, whereas conventional microscopes often lead to
loss of focus.”
“Robotic vasectomy reversal is a day procedure performed
under a general anaesthetic. It’s typically a viable option for
men who have had a vasectomy within the past 8–10 years,”
said Dr Malone.
Wollongong Private Hospital has expanded its offering of robotically-assisted procedures to include
gynaecology surgery, following the successful installation of its da Vinci XI surgical system earlier this year.
Under the care of local obstetrician and gynaecologist,
Dr Dharmesh Kothari, patients requiring a hysterectomy,
endometriosis resection or myomectomy may be
suitable for robotic surgery using the da Vinci Xi system.
Compared to traditional surgical methods, patients
may experience less pain, a faster recovery, reduced
risk of infection and will generally have a shorter stay
Dr Dharmesh Kothari performed the region’s first robotic
assisted hysterectomy in September.
“I am excited to be a part of this state-of-the-art technology
which has helped more than three million women around the
world, and is now available in the Illawarra,” Dr Kothari said.
“I am passionate about delivering the best care for my
patients and I strongly believe Illawarra women deserve
access to leading treatment, close to home.”
The original group 10 years on: Dr Greg Malone, nurse Georgina Haselwood, Dr Glen Wood, nurse Jane Nielsen, Dr Roger Watson,
A/Prof Peter Heathcote, Dr Peter Swindle.