July 19, 2023
Robotic surgery has emerged as a revolutionary advancement in the field of healthcare, transforming the way surgical procedures are performed worldwide. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, with its diverse healthcare landscape and increasing burden of complex medical conditions, stands to benefit greatly from the introduction and widespread adoption of robotic surgery. This cutting-edge technology offers a range of advantages that can significantly enhance surgical precision and improve patient outcomes across various medical specialties.
Robotic surgery is an advanced form of minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The care and treatment of prostate cancer, stomach disorders, urological procedures, hysterectomy, and mitral valve repair, all conducted by specialists, have been transformed by improving the accuracy of operations and reducing patients’ recovery time. Robotic-assisted surgery is a method that helps surgeons to perform complicated surgical procedures with greater precision, flexibility, and command than traditional techniques.
Robotic surgery has revolutionized minimally invasive procedures using cutting-edge equipment, including a 3D-High Definition (3D-HD) vision system and a 10-fold magnification system. A notable example is Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes division, which obtained FDA approval in January 2021 for its robotic-assisted orthopedic surgical interface used in complete knee replacements. Another FDA-approved noninvasive robotic platform is CyberKnife, which was approved in September 2010 and has been instrumental in image-guided therapy.
An innovative approach to minimally invasive surgery involves using a miniature in-vivo robot inserted into the peritoneal cavity. Developed jointly by Virtual Incision and the Center for Advanced Surgical Technology (CAST), this device features two arms with unlimited functionalities and multiple joints, providing unparalleled flexibility.
In the realm of robotic endoscopy, the Aer-O-Scope, an Israeli self-propelled colonoscope, stands out. This device utilizes carbon dioxide for propulsion, eliminating the need for additional manual pressing, and effectively navigates the colon up to the cecum, showcasing the advancements in robotic technology in the field of endoscopy.
Robotic Surgery Adoption in MEA Region
Robotic surgery has gained considerable traction in the MEA region over the past decade. The adoption of robotic systems, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, has grown rapidly in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Egypt. This rise can be attributed to several factors, including increased investment in healthcare technology, rising patient demand for minimally invasive procedures, and the desire of medical institutions to offer cutting-edge treatments.
In the Middle East, robotic surgery was first introduced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in 2003. As per the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia Data 2019, there are 19 da Vinci robotic systems installed in eight major hospitals across the KSA. In 2010, Qatar founded the new Qatar Robotic Surgery Centre (QRSC), acquiring three da Vinci robots. To the best of our knowledge, there are no operating da Vinci robots in the Middle East other than the KSA, Qatar, and Egypt.
As per the data published by West Cape Government, South Africa 2022, in 2014, the first South African radical prostatectomy was performed with a da Vinci robot, of which there are now nine in the private sector. Their use in the country has expanded to general gynecology and cardiothoracic surgical procedures. The West Cape Government Data 2022 also mentioned since the acquisition in 2021, 240 and 260 surgeries have been performed at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals, respectively. These include robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery (RALP), partial nephrectomy, pyeloplasty, complex reconstructive procedures and radical cystectomy total mesorectal excision, ventral mesh rectopexy, proctectomy and ileoanal pouch, and colectomies, hernia repairs, urogynaecology procedures, sacrocolpopexy, hepatobiliary bile duct exploration, hemi-hepatectomy and distal pancreatectomy and gynecology procedures like advanced endometriosis and onc gyne radical resections.
In October 2021, the surgeons from various fields at Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Academic Health Complexes in South Africa strongly advocated for the acquisition of the da Vinci Xi system. This effort aimed to offer the highest quality care to patients in the state sector, despite the substantial cost of R38 million per robot.
Timeline of Robotic Surgery in the MEA Region
(Source: Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia)
Healthcare in the UAE alone has seen an increase in demand for innovative robotics procedures in the Middle East. It is projected to grow as public and private healthcare spending and patient awareness rise. Digital transformation and Artificial intelligence are constant components of a government’s ability in the UAE to support long-term growth in today’s rapidly evolving environment.
Major Hospitals in the MEA region performing Robotic Surgeries
Factors Driving the Adoption of Robotic Surgery in the MEA Region
In recent years, the MEA region has witnessed rapid technological advancements, including healthcare infrastructure. Healthcare providers in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and South Africa have invested significantly in acquiring state-of-the-art robotic systems. These technological advancements have allowed surgeons to deliver superior patient care, attracting patients and healthcare professionals to robotic surgery.
Growing Patient Demand
Patients in the MEA region increasingly seek minimally invasive surgical procedures due to the associated benefits, including reduced pain, faster recovery times, and improved cosmetic outcomes. Robotic surgery offers the advantage of smaller incisions and enhanced precision, resulting in reduced trauma to the body, less scarring, and quicker postoperative recovery. Patient demand for these benefits has driven healthcare providers to adopt robotic surgery to meet their expectations.
Surgeon Training and Education
As the adoption of robotic surgery grows, healthcare institutions in the MEA region have invested in training programs and workshops to educate surgeons on robotic-assisted procedures. Surgeons undergo rigorous training to become proficient in utilizing robotic systems effectively. This investment in surgeon education and training has contributed to expanding robotic surgery programs and increasing patient access to this advanced surgical approach.
Collaborative Efforts and Knowledge Sharing
Medical conferences, workshops, and collaborations between international and regional healthcare institutions have played a vital role in promoting the adoption of robotic surgery in the MEA region. These platforms facilitate knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices, and exposure to the latest advancements in robotic surgery. The collaboration between healthcare providers and technology companies has also led to the establishment of robotic surgery centers of excellence, further promoting the growth of robotic surgery in the region.
Initiatives by the United Arab Emirates Government
- The Emirates Health Services Corporation is keen on using the new robots to perform surgeries and has been doing its utmost to double its artificial intelligence This is in line with the UAE Government’s wise directives aimed at being a hub for introducing AI (Artificial Intelligence) into health services in the Middle East for robotic surgery.
- In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced the launch of the first robot for catheterization and cardiac surgery through computerized systems. The device was installed to conduct the first surgery in June 2014 in the Al Qasimi Hospital.
- The Gynecology and Obstetrics Robotic Surgeries Program was initiated in April 2019 by the Ministry of Health and Prevention. The launch came in the wake of the successful use of the robot in heart surgery, owing to its ability to reach the most complex areas of the human body, combined with high precision due to the robotic arm’s firmness during the process.
Top Players for Robotic Surgery Devices in MEA Region
Challenges and Future Outlook
While adopting robotic surgery in the MEA region has been remarkable, several challenges still need to be addressed. The high initial cost of robotic systems, lack of skilled robotic surgeons, and limited access to advanced healthcare facilities are some barriers that must be overcome. However, as technology progresses and awareness increases, the future of robotic surgery in the MEA region appears promising.
Addressing these challenges through strategic investments, training programs, and collaboration between healthcare institutions and technology providers will ensure the continued success and growth of robotic surgery in the region.
The rise of robotic surgery in the MEA region also shows promising prospects for healthcare delivery. As technology advances and costs decrease, robotic systems are becoming more accessible to a wider range of healthcare institutions. This increased accessibility will further expand the adoption of robotic surgery and facilitate the introduction of robotic systems into new surgical specialties.
Furthermore, ongoing research and development efforts aim to enhance the capabilities of robotic systems, enabling surgeons to perform even more complex procedures. Innovations such as haptic feedback, artificial intelligence, and machine learning can further improve surgical precision, enhance decision-making during procedures, and expand the applications of robotic surgery in the MEA region.
Implementing robotic surgery in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has shown significant promise in enhancing surgical precision and improving patient outcomes. As technology advances, robotic-assisted surgical systems offer numerous benefits, such as increased accuracy, reduced invasiveness, shorter recovery times, and improved surgical success rates.
One of the key advantages of robotic surgery is its ability to empower surgeons with enhanced dexterity and visualization, enabling them to perform complex procedures with greater precision and control. This increased precision can lead to fewer complications, reduced postoperative pain, and faster patient recovery, ultimately improving overall patient satisfaction and quality of life.
Moreover, robotic surgery can address disparities in healthcare access within the MEA region. By adopting this cutting-edge technology, healthcare facilities in less accessible or underserved areas can offer advanced surgical treatments, providing patients with state-of-the-art care closer to home.
In conclusion, robotic surgery holds great potential for advancing surgical precision and patient outcomes in the MEA region. As healthcare systems evolve and embrace technological innovations, robotic-assisted surgery is poised to play an increasingly vital role in delivering high-quality and advanced surgical care to patients throughout the Middle East and Africa. With continued dedication to research, training, and infrastructure development, the MEA region can harness robotic surgery’s benefits to improve patient health and well-being.
Source: Delveinsight http://www.delveinsight.com/