Technologically advanced robotic surgical system launched in the Eastern Cape

Improved cancer clearance achieved with precise keyhole radical prostatectomy

Wednesday, August 16 2017

In a significant medical milestone for the province, the highly sophisticated da Vinci Si robotic surgical system has been introduced in the Eastern Cape, at Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

“Netcare’s launch of the da Vinci Si robotic surgical system in Johannesburg and Cape Town a few years ago has shown the value, for both patients and doctors, of this remarkable technology and, as a result, these centres have been increasingly receiving referrals from other provinces,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.

Pic: (Left to right) Urologists, Dr Johan Coetzee and Dr Hannes Brummer, will be performing robotic-assisted prostate surgery at Netcare Greenacres Hospital, initially under the proctorship of urologist and robotic surgeon, Dr Gregory Boustead, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of the technology.

“We have now brought the technology and capacity required for robotic-assisted surgical procedures to the Eastern Cape, where we have identified a need for the intricate and highly complex surgical interventions that the da Vinci Si system enables trained surgeons to achieve. We look forward to offering the benefits of this advanced technology to our patients in the Eastern Cape.”

The general manager of Netcare Greenacres Hospital, Andre Bothma, hailed the development and the benefits it will bring for patients with localised prostate cancer. In addition, da Vinci Si robotic-assisted technology has already been used successfully in South Africa for surgical procedures to treat kidney and bladder cancer in selected patients.

“The sophistication of the da Vinci Si robotic system will indeed be a welcome addition to our hospital’s surgical and technological capacity. The new technology will make it possible for trained specialists to offer our patients prostate cancer treatment that is truly world class, and is associated with enhanced outcomes and fewer complications than more traditional forms of surgery for prostate cancer,” Bothma observes.

Urologist, robotic surgeon and consultant advisor in robotic surgery to Netcare hospitals, Dr Gregory Boustead, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of the technology. He says that the technology is recognised as the gold standard for the surgical treatment of localised prostate cancer in Europe and the United States, and is rapidly becoming the treatment of choice in South Africa.

“This is not surprising, as the technology enables well-trained surgical teams to achieve much greater surgical precision than is possible with open or laparoscopic surgery due to the enhanced and magnified three-dimensional, high definition view of the area being operated on. The robotic arms and wristed instruments furthermore allow more freedom of movement than the human hand, which enhances surgical precision and translates into better cancer clearance rates and improved preservation of the nerves which control urinary continence as well as erectile function. The latter is of course important to all men, particularly younger men, who have developed prostate cancer,” notes Dr Boustead.

“A study analysing the outcomes of our first 500 robotic-assisted prostatectomies at Netcare facilities has shown excellent results, comparable with the best centres abroad when the outcomes were presented internationally.

Hospital stay was two to three days, with very low complication rates and risks of blood loss requiring blood transfusion. We also compared our robotic outcomes to open surgery during the same time frame, and this showed hospital stay and complication rates were reduced by 50% with the robotic approach,” explains Dr Boustead. Urologists Dr Hannes Brummer and Dr Johan Coetzee, who will initially be operating with the da Vinci system at Netcare Greenacres Hospital, have undergone extensive training in South Africa and Europe and will initially perform robotic-assisted surgery under Dr Boustead’s proctorship.  

Du Plessis notes that the surgeon remains in full control, as the da Vinci system cannot perform surgery by itself, but is designed to assist the surgeon to perform more complex surgeries with an even greater degree of accuracy than was previously possible.

“We regard this system as an important enhancement of existing surgical expertise in the Eastern Cape, especially as patients in the province can now and in the years ahead benefit from da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery without the inconvenience of having to travel to other provinces,” Du Plessis concluded.


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Greenacres Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]