Medics perform robot surgery for the first time at Abu Dhabi's mega hospital

Robot surgery allows medics to work remotely using very small, precise instruments attached to robotic arms.

The robotic surgery team at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City. Courtesy: SSMC
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Medics at the UAE’s largest hospital have conducted robotic surgery for the first time.

The team at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) performed a pyeloplasty on a young Emirati patient.

He had been suffering from a "ureteropelvic junction obstruction" - a blockage of the tube (ureter) that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

The condition can cause pain, infection and sepsis, and if left untreated, can impair the kidneys’ function.

The procedure essentially restores normal kidney drainage.

"The instruments used in robotic surgery provide surgeons with magnified, 3D high-definition vision, more comfortable use of instruments and easier access to areas that would’ve been difficult to reach using conventional methods," said Dr Sarfraz Ahmad, a urology consultant at SSMC, who led the team.

"Our patient’s surgery went very smoothly. In addition to good pain control, our young patient was walking the day after the operation and discharged home the following day."

Robot surgery allows medics to work remotely using very small, precise instruments attached to robotic arms.

The operation also marks the launch of a comprehensive robotic surgery programme at the hospital, which opened late last year.

SSMC is jointly operated by America's top-ranked medical group - Mayo Clinic - along with the UAE’s largest healthcare network, Seha.

Mayo Clinic is known for its pioneering treatment and it intends to introduce some of the most advanced methods that exist today to tackle conditions such as cancer.

The launch of the robotic surgery programme is just one of the initiatives.

"We are extremely proud to perform our first robotic surgery so soon after opening SSMC," said Dr Matthew Gettman, chief medical officer of SSMC and the first surgeon to pioneer robotic surgery with Mayo Clinic in the United States.

"This is a major achievement in SSMC’s journey towards being a destination for complex care, and complements Abu Dhabi’s efforts in positioning itself as an international healthcare hub, and it is a testament to the benefit of the partnership between Seha and Mayo Clinic," he said.

Robot-assisted surgery is increasingly used in advanced hospitals. Evidence suggests it can be less invasive and improve recovery time.