The University of Barcelona (UB), the University Bellvitge Hospital (HUB) and the company ABEX Excelencia Robótica have created the first UB Chair - University Bellvitge Hospital of Robotic Surgery Abex in order to promote the development of training and research in this field in the area of five surgical specializations. This is the second chair of such features in Spain and the first to have a business support.
The rector of the UB, Joan Guŕrdia, highlights that the alliance between HUB and ABEX Excelencia Robótica "is an authority in robotic surgery and the University is the catalyst that, with this chair, will allow us to advance towards the clinical care of the future".
The appearance of minimally invasive surgery has brought a revolution in all surgical specialties, making operations easier to perform, drastically reducing their aggressiveness and maintaining and even improving clinical outcomes. "Robotic surgery is the maximum exponent of minimally invasive surgery", says Ricard Ramos, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health he will Sciences of the UB, thoracic surgeon and head of studies at the HUB that will be the director of the new chair.
"This continuous technological progress requires sub-specialised training, as well as continuous updating of the specialist. The new chair, which is transversal in nature, aims to promote training mainly in five specialties: digestive, thoracic, gynaecological, urological and otorhinolaryngological surgery, as well as those in which it will be applied, with the creation of specific courses", says Ramos. "Furthermore -he adds-, it aims to promote scientific debate through seminars and congresses in areas related to the chair and to establish networks with universities and national and international hospitals with a high reputation in robotic surgery".
The chair, affiliated at the Bellvitge Campus of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB, will have a team of surgeons specialised in robotic surgery in all specialties related to their areas, as well as the facilities of the surgical bloc of the HUB, in addition to those of the Centre for Advanced Medical and Surgical Simulation, among others. The HUB is a benchmark hospital in robotic surgery and performs around 600 operations a year with Da Vinci, the robotic system of the company ABEX Excelencia Robótica.
In 2020, more than 9,000 operations were performed with this robot in Spain and Portugal and more than 1.2 million worldwide. According to Pablo Díez, business manager of ABEX Excelencia Robótica in Spain and Portugal, "the training of our clinicians is essential so that technological innovations and the robotic approach are a common practice in our operating rooms for the benefit of patients, who will see their quality of life improved after an intervention".
As part of the chair, monographic sessions on robotic surgery will be organised, in addition to promoting short-term stays for robotic surgeons. Grants will be awarded for research projects and the Abex National Prize for the best publication on robotic surgery will be set up.
The Da Vinci robotic system
The Da Vinci robotic system is currently the most innovative platform for minimally invasive surgery that is revolutionising the hospital sector. More than eighty centres in Spain have this aid in their operating rooms, with which they perform urological, thoracic, digestive, otorhinolaryngological and gynaecological oncological surgeries.
With the Da Vinci robotic system, the surgeon does not operate directly on the patient, but sits at a control table from where he virtually operates a pair of forceps. The three-dimensional vision with up to ten times magnification allows the clinician to work with great precision. The system translates the doctor’s hand movements into impulses that are literally transmitted to the robotic arms, making it possible to reach areas that are difficult to access
The advantages are unquestionable: with the Da Vinci surgical system it is easier to work on complicated anatomies, there is excellent visualisation of anatomical landmarks and tissue planes, and physiological tremor or involuntary movements of the surgeon are eliminated, as well as postural fatigue after long hours of surgery. These advantages have a direct impact on the patient, as the size of the incisions is clearly smaller, resulting in a better and shorter postoperative period, less bleeding, less pain, less chance of complications and, in short, a quicker return to daily life. This also results in better management of the use of hospital facilities and resources.