The private hospital Côte d’Armor in Plerain has just acquired a surgical robot. He will be able to come from October to help surgeons during operations in urological, digestive and gynecological oncology. “This is the first equipment of this type in the department,” Director Loic Fretard explained on Friday morning. Five others, the same or similar in purpose, operate in Brittany (two in Ile-et-Villain and Morbihan and one in Brest, in Finistère).
Dubbed Da Vinci X, the “robot” is designed for the operating room. Equipped with four “arms”, equipped with precision instruments and a camera, it is not autonomous. But it is controlled by the surgeon from a console located nearby, using a camera that records the surgical field in real time and in three dimensions.
The first advantage is the ability to perform “complex and delicate operations in a less invasive way,” the experts summarize. With the first effect of a sharp reduction in the size of scars. Initially, there will be six, authorized and certified to use the device in Plérin. “There are other benefits to helping robots. Always practiced under general anaesthesia, it reduces the size of the incisions needed, reduces risks and postoperative pain.” Research will also show faster recovery times and shorter stays.
So what are the benefits? “Despite the fact that there are more and more recommendations for some specific interventions, not all of them are designed to be performed using this technique,” professionals are outraged. More traditional methods retain all their effectiveness – and therefore all their place – in a large number of cases.
One million euro investment
In the country as a whole, the number of patients operated on using robotic surgical assistance continues to grow. Since Prof. Carpentier’s “world premiere” in 1998, there have been more than 250,000. “You need to take a step back to evaluate methods, develop them, test them.” And so democratize them. This largely explains that in recent years the number of equipment in the territory has only increased. “Another argument is the cost of the device,” Loic Fretar adds. Which increases the figure of one million euros. “This is more than the average annual investment seen since the opening of Plérin.” A cost that far exceeds the cost of the “robot” alone. Because this is a whole process that needs to be adjusted, with the training of teams and the sterilization component, which is important.
What is the attractive potential?
However, it was “important to do”, beyond simple tools. “This is an innovative material, therefore a source of attraction, including for the professionals we are looking for on the territory,” the director wants to believe. Argument corroborated by one practitioner: “I worked with this technique in the Paris area,” testifies this gynecological surgeon. If I didn’t have confidence in the imminent arrival of the robot, I definitely wouldn’t have chosen Côte d’Armor.”