Posted in | News | Medical Robotics

Canada’s First Patient Undergoes Robotic Surgery for Throat Cancer

Gildard Legere, aged 72, a retired home builder from Sarnia, became the first Canadian patient who underwent an operation by a robot and a team of doctors for the removal of throat cancer.

This surgery conducted on December 3, 2010 at London Health Sciences Centre has eliminated the need for a neck or throat incision. Legere, now being fed by a tube, has successfully avoided radiation or chemotherapy.

The operation on Legere was performed with the assistance of the da Vinci robot. Anthony Nichols and Kevin Fung were the neck and head surgeons who performed the revolutionary procedure. Fung and Nichols have also played a vital role in the training conducted at the University of Pennsylvania on robotic surgery. The patient who had trouble swallowing prior to the operation was able to resume normal diet just a day after. A surgery was carried out a month later to remove his lymph nodes. The doctors have now declared the patient free of throat cancer.

Fung stated that the health-care industry will stand to gain by implementing robotic surgery as it eliminates the need for chemotherapy or radiation and reduces the time of recovery for cancer patients. Moreover, robotic surgery is considered less invasive than the normal procedure. Fung also declared that two such robotic surgeries are expected to be held every month for patients who have passed the screening test.

Fung also added that the concept of robotic surgery will be effective for reducing cost and the period of stay in the hospital. He said that the robot uses its high-definition cameras to offer a three-dimensional view of the structures inside a patient body. In addition to offering an amazing view, the robot is capable of traversing at right-angles and alerting the surgeons from touching vital areas such as the voice box. Fung also envisaged the use of robots in reconstructive surgery.


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