One of the most renowned urologists across the globe, Prokar Dasgupta feels robotic surgery needs to be made multi-disciplinary to reduce cost and increase its popularity in India.
"One of the most important reasons that prevented the bursting of robotic surgery in India, unlike in the US, is obviously the financial factor."
"In India, in order to make it more cost effective and popular, you have to make it multi-disciplinary. Multi-disciplinary groups have to come together," said Dasgupta, who is attached to King’s College, London.
In robotic surgery, a doctor sits at a computer console either inside or outside the operation room, using the surgical robot to accomplish what it once took a crowd of people to perform.
One of the important advantages of robotic surgery is enhanced precision and reduced trauma to patient. The patient would experience less pain, trauma and bleeding, which means faster recovery.
"If cardio surgeons, ENT surgeons, urologists, gastro-enterologists and gynaecologists come together, then the robot can be utilised six-seven days a week. You can generate 400-600 cases from an institution," Dasgupta told reporters Friday evening on the sidelines of a media meet in connection with USICON 2011, Kolkata.
"Whether you do one case or 600 cases, the maintenance charge for a robot is the same. You have to make it viable and the way to do it is by adopting a multi-disciplinary approach," added Dasgupta.
There are seven robots in India, of which five are in New Delhi, one in Chennai and another in Pune.
According to Dasgupta, robotic surgery performed at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is either free or costs nearly Rs.1 lakh, which is much lower than the market price of over Rs.3 lakh.
Urologists of Kolkata feel that to make robotic surgery a success in the state, government hospitals like SSKM need to be equipped with the system.
"If you want to make it cost effective and popular, first of all you have to equip government hospital like SSKM (the largest referral hospital in West Bengal) with the system as it has been done in AIIMS in New Delhi, because then it can provide the service at a subsidised rate," said Kalyan K. Sarkar, a renowned urological surgeon and treasurer USICON 2011.