A 62-year-old man underwent a prostate tumor removal operation at the A. Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital, as happens to many patients in Italy every year. But the surgery carried out on this 60-year-old, who is fine and has already returned home, is special and different from all the others. It is in fact the first radical prostatectomy performed in Italy with the new Hugo robot. To sign this ‘first’ is the professor Pierfrancesco Bassidirector of the UOC of Urological Clinic of the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Polyclinic Foundation, Full Professor of Urology at the Catholic University, Rome campus.
Robotic surgery in urology has been an established reality for many years, but it has never really taken off, because it is held back by the high costs. But the benefits of this approach are too many to ignore and more and more surgeons are grappling with the console of these robots, to the benefit of their patients.
To give an impulse to this discipline, the only strategy is to make it more democratic or more accessible in terms of costs. Which is then the proposal of Hugo, the latest robot-surgeon developed by Medtronic.
“We finally have a system – commented Professor Bassi – that offers the same operational potential as the technologies currently on the market, with a reduction in costs. And the significance of this goes well beyond the purely economic aspect. the potential to open and extend these techniques even in the smallest hospitals and therefore to offer the advantages of robotic surgery to a wider range of patients “.
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The instrument is new, the technique is not. Robotic surgery in urology has been around for years and is now a fact.
“Today a good 50% of interventions for urological pathologies – says Professor Bassi – can be performed with the robot, which provides a series of advantages over traditional surgery: less invasiveness, better surgical detail and reduced hospitalization for the patient. urology is, among all, the discipline most suited to robotic surgery; in fact, we are the industry leaders in terms of the number of interventions “.
It is evident that having an equipment available that allows to reap all the advantages of robotic surgery is very appreciable, even more so if a reduction in costs, usually important, connected to traditional robotic surgery is envisaged.
“This can only facilitate access to robotic surgery in a greater number of hospitals – reflects Professor Bassi – offering a greater number of patients all the advantages associated with it. Of course, the current DRGs are not yet aligned with the revolution of robotic surgery. But we hope that the expansion of the use of robotic surgery will soon lead the Ministry of Health to make this therapeutic approach even more accessible, which is destined to expand more and more “.
The most widespread indication in the urological field is radical prostatectomy for the treatment of prostate cancer, which is the first cancer in order of frequency in males, representing 19% of all male cancers in our country (in 2020 they were estimated about 36 thousand new diagnoses).
This surgery is curative if the tumor is confined to the prostate, so early diagnosis is very important for treatment and prognosis. “Carrying out this intervention in robotic surgery – comments Professor Bassi – offers those benefits that fall within the concept of ‘personalized medicine, that is the possibility of treating the tumor according to the characteristics of the tumor itself and of the patient, almost like a tailor who makes the tailor-made suit. Robotic surgery is currently able to satisfy situations of major surgery in the urological field “.
The Gemelli will be Hugo’s training center for the other Italian surgeons. “Gemelli urology is an Italian and international reference center. The placement of this robot in an IRCCS – says Professor Bassi – will encourage research and development in the field even in clinical applications that are not strictly urological; we will contribute in addition to the development of new devices, tools and accessories for Hugo, as well as to the further development of the robotic approach “.