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Robotic Surgery At Bay Urology


What is Robotic Surgery?


Robotic Prostatectomy is currently the standard operation for prostate cancer in the USA, and most of Australia and Europe. Due to a lack of funding and expertise, New Zealand has lagged behind in this technology, but robotics is becoming more established here, boosted recently with the news that Southern Cross has joined the rest of the major health insurers in fully funding robotic prostate surgery. The Da Vinci robotic system is comprised of a surgical console, where the surgeon sits and controls the robotic arms via cables in a Master-Slave arrangement, a “cart” which is at the bedside, and a “tower” of electronics with a screen for the assistant. The surgeon is helped by highly maneuverable robotic “wrists”, tremor elimination, and 3-D HD 10x magnification video.


As with any tool, however, it’s the person operating it that counts, and good outcomes are achieved through proper training and experience. An experienced open prostate surgeon will have better outcomes than a poorly trained or inexperienced surgeon using a robot. Jim Duthie is one of a small number of Urological Surgeons who has undertaken a year-long Fellowship training program in Robotic Surgery, at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. This training involves rigorous theoretical and practical training, with more than a dozen hours using a robotic simulator and over 100 robotic prostatectomy surgeries with supervision from highly experienced robotic surgeons. In addition Jim has experience with Robotic Partial Nephrectomy, the removal of kidney tumours with preservation of the healthy kidney tissue. Jim was involved in Grace Hospital’s acquisition of a new Si Da Vinci surgical robot, which has New Zealand’s first robotic simulator, has contributed to the MUTP Robotics Course for Transitioning Surgeons, led a robotic surgical assistant’s course, published research on robotic surgery, and is currently developing a robotics course for New Zealand surgical trainees. We are happy to announce that Jim is joining the Bay Urology team and is now available for consultations on robotic surgery.

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