Vietnam hospital succeeds in 17 robotic surgeries, aims to raise 100 cases in 2014

By Thu Thuy, Thanh Nien News

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Doctors at the Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics performing a robotic-assisted endoscopic surgery for  23-month-old Luong N.L on June 4. Photo courtesy of the hospital  
The Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics in Hanoi successfully performed a robot-assisted endoscopic surgery on a child, on June 4, the 17th case since it began to apply the new technique three months ago.

The patient, Luong N.L., 23 months old, from the northern province of Phu Tho, was hospitalized with a swollen abdomen. Doctors diagnosed that the baby was suffering from inborn large intestine aneurism and decided to perform an endoscopic surgery using a robotic system.

The surgery took few hours and the patent has recovered well.

The hospital opened the Center for Applying Robotic System in Endoscopic Surgery on February 27, becoming the first among the Vietnamese hospitals to offer robotic surgery.

Dr. Pham Duy Hien, Deputy head of the hospital’s Surgery Ward, who was the major surgeon of the surgery on June 4, said robot-assisted endoscopic surgery is very effective to those suffering from bile duct cyst, bile duct atrophy, kidney cyst, inborn large intestine aneurism, coronary artery aneurism and many other heart disorders.

Advanced robotic systems give doctors greater control and vision during surgery, allowing them to perform safe, less invasive, and precise surgical procedures, Hien said.

During such operations, surgeons operate from a console equipped with two master controllers that maneuver four robotic arms. By viewing a high-definition 3D image on the console, the surgeon is able to see the surgical procedure better than before.

Computer software takes the place of actual hand movements and can make movements very precise, he explained.

Hien said the hospital has not seen any problems to the robotic-assisted surgeries performed since February and all of the child patients have recovered well.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hien of Thai Binh Province, the mother of a 17-month-old patient suffering kidney disorder, said her daughter was fully recovered after a robotic surgery on February 24.

All of the cases were free of charge.

Le Thanh Hai, director of the Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics, said the first robotic surgeries would be free and in the future, such surgeries will be charged VND50 million-70 million (US$2,360-$3,300), much lower than similar cases in developed countries, which may be up to $30,000 (more than VND600 million).

The hospital aims to raise the number of robot-assisted endoscopic surgeries to 100 by late this year.

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