x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Plans to build first-of-its-kind robotic surgery centre in UAE

The centre would be the first in the world that would have the technology to be able to perform every kind of robotic surgery under one roof, said Italian professor and surgeon Adolfo Panfili.

Adolfo Panfili:
Adolfo Panfili: "Every kind of robotic surgery will be able to be performed at the centre." Venturelli / WireImage

ABU DHABI // A world-renowned surgeon is in talks with UAE investors to build a multimillion-dirham robotic surgery centre in the emirate.

It would be the first in the world with the technology to perform every kind of robotic surgery under one roof, said Adolfo Panfili, an Italian surgeon.

Robotic surgery is a technique in which a surgeon performs an operation using a computer that remotely controls tiny instruments attached to a robot.

Prof Panfili said that, while the plan was still in the very early stages, he had met several investors for talks on the private health centre.

It would provide robotic neurosurgery, spine, knee, hip and general surgery, and urological, vascular and ophthalmological operations.

Robotic equipment is expensive, and Prof Panfili estimates the centre would cost up to US$20 million (Dh73.4m).

A standard surgical robot costs about €1.3m (Dh6.2m), while the world's most advanced model, Da Vinci, which was used in almost 400,000 operations worldwide last year, costs about €2m.

While robotic surgery is a fast-growing sector of medicine, the concept is new to the Emirates, said Prof Panfili.

He said robotic surgery had a 99.7 per cent success rate - about 10 per cent better than traditional operations.

The technology also minimises the damage to the patient, while other benefits include quicker procedures and speedier recovery times.

"There are 20 different kinds of robots," said Prof Panfili. "There are robots for the hip, for the knee, for the brain.

"Worldwide, several centres are implementing robotic devices for surgery in specific fields but none is implementing a holistic concept using all of the robots available on the market today.

"My aim is to develop a kind of centre where every kind of robotic surgery can be performed. One like this does not exist in the world."

Prof Panfili said he hoped the centre would be built in the next two to five years, and include a training centre for surgeons.

jbell@thenational.ae