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Taiwan claims Asia's first robotic-assisted kidney transplant

2012/08/07 19:22:34

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) National Taiwan University Hospital said Tuesday that it has successfully implanted a living donor kidney using the da Vinci surgical robot, touting it as the first successful use of the procedure in Asia.

"The surgery can be seen as a landmark for organ transplants," Lin Ming-tsan, the hospital's vice superintendent, said in a press conference.

Compared to traditional surgery, robotic-assisted surgery is minimally invasive and can offer patients the benefits of rapid recovery and a small incision, said Tsai Meng-kun, the doctor who performed the surgery.

The da Vinci system is an innovative machine used to mirror the movement of the surgeon's hands using two controller sticks. The system offers features such as high definition three-dimensional vision and magnified views.

On July 27, a kidney was removed from a 51-year-old man via laparoscopy. It was later transplanted into his 60-year-old sister using the robotic technique. The woman recovered well and was scheduled to be discharged Tuesday.

"The operation went smoothly," said Tsai, showing a video of the procedure.

He explained that the robotics technology not only lowers the risk of complications for patients, but also enables surgeons to perform with increased precision without leaving large scars.

Whereas open surgery leaves a 15-20 cm scar on the abdomen, the incision on the organ recipient is estimated at just 9 cm, he added.

"This is no simple task," said Lai Hong-shiee, director of the hospital's Department of Surgery, quoting comments from surgeons in South Korea and Hong Kong.

"We believe this is the first robotic-assisted kidney transplant surgery to be carried out in Asia," he said.

The hospital has completed 149 other operations using the da Vinci equipment over the last six months, he added.

(By Nancy Liu)