New Delhi: Vattikuti Foundation plans to train 500 robotic surgeons in India by 2020. The Foundation also plans to offer 100 paid fellowships to super specialist surgeons by 2020 to become robotic surgeons.
Currently there are 190 robotic surgeons in India across 30 hospitals in 12 cities. The plan is to expand the pool of accomplished robotic surgeons to 500 by 2020 and cover 100 hospitals across 25 cities, according to a statement.
“We will grow the pool of accomplished robotic surgeons to 500 besides motivating young surgeons to adopt robotic surgery,” said Raj Vattikuti, who has been evangelizing robotic surgery in India since 2010 through The Vattikuti Foundation.
“As its contribution, Vattikuti Foundation, will offer 100 paid fellowships to super specialist surgeons, over the next five years, to become robotic surgeons,” said Raj Vattikuti.
“Even though 4,000 robot-assisted surgeries were performed in 2015, representing a five-fold increase in five years, India has not even scratched its potential, as the benefit can be passed to the masses beyond metro locations,” added Raj Vattikuti.
Robotic surgery scores over conventional surgery, as it minimizes blood loss, drastically reduces the post-operative recovery time, and brings precision in executing the procedure, thus saving healthy tissue from damage.
There is little to no pain, as robotic arms enter the body via tiny incisions, healing is quicker for the patient, scarring is minimal and savings on pain management are significant. The quick healing and lower pain-levels translate to shorter hospital stays and quick return to work.
Surgical robots combine the best of science, engineering and medicine. With four arms, it can reach organs and areas where human fingers can’t. The three-dimensional view, that can be magnified multi-fold, helps the surgeons achieve precision that prevents collateral damage to healthy tissue.
Robotic surgery has proven to be most efficacious in cancer cases — especially in urology, gynaecology, general surgery, colorectal and head & neck cancers. Obesity reduction procedures in bariatric surgery are also being performed robotically in the country. It is also being used for kidney transplants.
Vattikuti Foundation intends to enhance access to robotic surgery, covering specialized cancer centres, large government hospitals and small hospitals in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. In the North, the Foundation will be targeting Bhopal, Delhi NCR, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Varanasi and Srinagar.
Vattikuti Technologies, which makes available da Vinci Surgical Robots from US-based Intuitive Surgical in India, plans to work with government cancer hospitals, corporate healthcare chains and trusts to acquire the most appropriate surgical robots.
“Vattikuti Technologies and Intuitive Surgical shall work together to offer hospitals special price points as they achieve 450 procedure mark over three years. This move will ensure availability of cancer surgery closer home for patients at prices that make robotic surgery affordable to the masses,” said Gopal Chakravarthy, CEO, Vattikuti Technologies.
Vattikuti Foundation offers one-year Vattikuti Fellowships to select young surgeons. They embark on a journey of training as Robotic Surgeons, where they are awarded one-year paid fellowships to work as an understudy to a Robotic Surgeon. After completing the fellowship, they are expected to become accomplished Robotic Surgeons capable of handling procedure independently.
The Foundation also runs a medical student engagement programme where identified Vattikuti Scholars (with a postgraduate degree in surgery and a super specialization) are exposed to webinars and participation in Robotic Surgeons Council meets.
Large corporate hospitals such as Apollo, Fortis, Max, Medanta; government hospitals such as AIIMS – New Delhi, PGI – Chandigarh, Delhi State Cancer Institute; and trust hospitals such as Tata Memorial – Mumbai, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital – New Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute – New Delhi are using the da Vinci Surgical Robots.
Vattikuti Technologies is helping government cancer centres such as Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru acquire the surgical robots to benefit the economically weaker sections of society.