What is robotic bypass surgery

Interventions with so-called DaVinci robots are rare in the heart. There are only a few centers in Europe that perform heart operations with such robots - they are more common in gynecology and urology. At the beginning of February, the Heart Center of the University Hospital Basel (USB) adopted the procedure for the first time that is currently not used in any other Swiss hospital. It was a bypass surgery in which a patient's thoracic artery was dissected by the DaVinci robot.

The smallest possible cut leads to the best result

PD Dr. Peter Matt, surgeon at the heart center of the USB, explains the advantages: “With this surgical method, the entire chest does not have to be opened to give the surgeon access to the heart. The smallest incisions are sufficient to gain access to the heart and thoracic artery via the Robert. With the DaVinci system, I do not work directly on the patient myself, but rather carry out all the work on a control console. The robot does not operate independently here, but transmits the surgeon's movements calmly and precisely. ”The surgeon uses joysticks to operate the tools that are attached to the robot's movable operating arms. He sees a 3-dimensional, enlarged image of the procedure on a screen. The image transfer takes place via a camera that is also attached to the robot arm. The bypass operation is then performed through a 5 cm incision on the chest on the beating heart. Since neither the breastbone has to be opened nor a heart-lung machine connected, there are clear advantages for the patient: a faster healing process, less pain or complications and a shorter time in the intensive care unit. Dr. Peter Matt is very satisfied with the operation and the result: “The patient is fine. After just one day, he could be transferred from the intensive care unit to the normal ward. After a few days he could be discharged to rehabilitation without pain. Usually this takes a good two days. "

One year of training for three hours of surgery

That the procedure went perfectly was only possible thanks to a long and intensive preparation phase. The surgical team around PD Dr. Peter Matt and PD Dr. Oliver Reuthebuch completed intensive training for the three-hour operation for over a year. They spent a lot of time on the DaVinci robot to simulate the procedure, but visits to foreign clinics were also on the program. A team from anesthetists and the nursing staff were involved in the intensive training. Because only a lot of practice and successful teamwork guarantee that the goal of optimal surgical therapy with maximum patient safety can be achieved.