Cutting-edge robotic surgeries return to South Australia’s public healthcare

State-of-the-art robotic surgery technology has returned to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) – the first time it has been available at a South Australian public hospital for almost a decade.

Cutting-edge robotic surgery technology has made a return to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) after nearly a decade’s absence, marking a significant milestone for South Australian healthcare.

The newly installed Da Vinci XI robot, stationed at the RAH, heralds a new era in minimally invasive procedures, offering advanced treatment options for complex head and neck operations, kidney, bowel, and uterine cancers, as well as colorectal surgery.

With up to 250 robotic surgeries anticipated annually at the RAH, patients will benefit from enhanced access to state-of-the-art surgical services, leveraging pioneering medical advancements.

“It’s fantastic to see robotic surgeries return to South Australia’s flagship public hospital – the Royal Adelaide Hospital – for the first time since 2015, making it more accessible for everyday South Australians,” Minister for Health & Wellbeing, Chris Picton, says.

“The feedback from clinicians is that the use of robotic surgeries lead to better outcomes for patients, especially those with specific types of cancer. We also strongly support any initiative that can reduce bed block, improve the flow of patients in our hospitals and help people return home sooner to continue their recovery.

“The ability to perform complex surgeries using a minimally invasive technique demonstrates the innovative approaches to healthcare currently being undertaken at our public hospitals.”

Robotic-assisted surgery has demonstrated notable advantages for specific groups of cancer patients, notably those requiring radical prostatectomy, certain kidney cancer cases allowing for partial preservation of the kidney, and uterine cancer patients.

The State Government’s commitment of $7 million will ensure the operational sustainability of this technology at the RAH, complemented by a $5.1 million investment from the Health Services Charitable Gifts Board.

Between 2005 and 2015, Subsequently, surgical robotics was used at the RAH. The technology was relocated to St Andrews Hospital under a public-private partnership arrangement. However, burgeoning demand from Adelaide-based surgeons has prompted its reintegration into the public sector.

The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) is actively collaborating with St Andrew’s Hospital, the current site for the robotic surgery program, to facilitate a seamless transition to the RAH.

“CALHN surgeons have been key in the development of robotic surgery, both in advancing the scope of surgery and in training local, national, and international surgeons,” CALHN Medical Lead Surgery, Peter Subramaniam, says.

“Using robotic-assisted surgery can result in decreased complications, faster recovery, reduced length of stay in hospital, and faster return to normal day activities.”

Concurrently, private providers, including St Andrew’s, will continue offering robotic surgery options to public patients, ensuring comprehensive access to cutting-edge medical interventions.

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