New Da Vinci Robot Purchase By St Andrew’s Hospital

January 23, 2016

A new surgical robot purchased by leading Adelaide private hospital, St Andrew’s, will provide South Australian patients with access to world’s best surgical care and significantly reduce hospital stays.

The $3.3 million da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot will replace an earlier model da Vinci machine installed at the hospital in 2013. It means St Andrew’s will have one of only three Xi models in Australia.

St Andrew’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Stephen Walker, said the purchase of the new da Vinci Robot had been made possible as a result of a generous donation from Adelaide businessman and philanthropist, Mr Gordon Pickard. 

“As a proudly independent South Australian hospital, we are delighted to receive such support from one of the State’s leading businessmen,” he said.

The robot is expected to be installed in mid-February and operational by the end of the month.

Mr Walker said the hospital’s current da Vinci Robot was mainly used in urology, ear nose and throat (ENT) and gynaecological surgery, particularly in the treatment of cancers.

However, the new machine will also have broader application and may potentially be used in colorectal surgery.

Mr Peter Ord, the Chief Executive Officer for Device Technologies, the Australian distributer of the da Vinci Surgical System, said the da Vinci Xi was a “technological leap forward” with broader capabilities than St Andrew’s existing model.

The Xi provided improved visual definition and clarity, smaller, thinner arms with newly designed joints offering a greater range of motion and other advances which made it appropriate for a broader range of surgical procedures.

The da Vinci system enables surgeons to perform minimally invasive, highly accurate laproscopic surgery in less time than conventional surgery.

Surgeons sit at a console using a 3D vision system to control interactive robot arms that scale, filter and translate the surgeon’s hand movements.

Benefits for patients include less pain, less blood loss and reduced recovery time in hospital, meaning they can get home sooner.

Mr Walker said the current arrangement with the State Government, under which St Andrew’s is contracted to treat about 120 public hospital patients a year, would continue.

“We will be liaising with the State Government about the mix of surgical procedures, given the new da Vinci robot’s wider application, but there will certainly be no change in the number of procedures undertaken for public patients,” he said.

“In the past year, we have treated around 140 public patients and expect this number will be maintained.

South Australia’s Health Minister Jack Snelling thanked Mr Pickard for his contribution and said the Government looked forward to working with St Andrews into the future for the benefit of public patients.

"This has been a very successful partnership between the State Government and a private partner," Mr Snelling said.

"We are pleased to keep that continuing particularly with the expanded range of treatments the machine can offer."

Consultant Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Dr Suren Krishnan, who was one of the first ENT surgeons in Australia to use robotics, has welcomed the new machine.

“Robotic surgery results in less trauma to patients and better overall results,” he said.

“The new da Vinci Xi has advantages over the current model in that the arms are slimmer and it’s far easier to get cameras and instruments to the back of the throat and tongue which provides a broader range of options.”

Professor Martin Oehler, Director Gynaecological Oncology, RAH said: “This technology will allow gynaecological oncologists for the first time to operate robotically in all quadrants of the abdominal cavity. That will assist us with treating patients with ovarian cancer as the disease frequently spreads throughout the abdomen. South Australian women with gynaecological cancer will greatly benefit from minimally invasive robotic surgery.”

Urologist, Dr Peter Sutherland, said the great thing about the new machine was that it would make surgery easier because of the advances in instrumentation and the improved vision system.

“This means that we will be able to expand what we are doing and take on more difficult cases,” he said.

Further Information:

Stephen Walker

Chief Executive Officer

St Andrew’s Hospital                                                         Ph: 08-8408 2139