Macquarie University Hospital surgeons demonstrate advanced robotic techniques in radical prostatectomy and partial nephrectomy at this year’s Sydney Robotics Summit.

The Sydney Robotics Summit 2018 saw two Macquarie University Hospital urological surgeons perform live-streamed robotic procedures as part of the conference’s aim to broaden registrants’ knowledge and experience of the latest developments in robotic surgery.

The multidisciplinary and multispecialty conference includes urology, cardiology, ENT, colorectal and gynaecology. It is unique within Australia and focuses on key topics from international and local experts in robotic surgery.

This year, the summit included live surgery for the first time.

Dr Justin Vass, urological surgeon at Macquarie University Hospital, performed a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Dr Howard Lau, also part of the Hospital’s urology team, performed a robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy.
“The goal was to demonstrate the finer points of these techniques,” said Dr Vass, one of the first urologists in NSW to train in robotic-assisted surgery for prostate cancer.
“With radical prostatectomy, in addition to removing the cancer and retaining continence, retaining erectile is also very important. The nerves for erectile function are very delicate autonomic nerve fibres that run between the facial layers that cover the prostate. They need to be peeled away very carefully to avoid injury even from undue traction.

“The live surgery demonstration was about improving and demonstrating many technical and operative steps, but in particular the nerve sparing technique.”

A panel of four experts in robotic-assisted surgery provided commentary during the procedure and Drs Vass and Lau also participated in question and answer sessions during and after the procedure to the audience of around 600 surgeons.

Macquarie University Hospital’s Robotic Program: Excellence in Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Macquarie University Hospital acquired its first Da Vinci Si Surgical System soon after it opened its door in 2010, with urology the first clinical discipline to take up the technology. The Hospital is now the busiest robotic prostate centre in NSW and is widely considered a national centre of excellence in robotic-assisted prostate cancer treatment.

“We’ve been able to make incredible advances in prostate services at Macquarie University Hospital because we have such a cohesive urology unit,” said Dr Vass. “The team has an exceptional record of advanced training, innovation and commitment.

“It’s not just that our surgical expertise is world-class, but we also have highly skilled nursing staff in theatre and on the ward. The post-operative care – especially for robotic surgery – is second to none. The care also goes hand-in-hand with leading diagnostic capabilities, especially multiparametric MRI, PSMA PET scanning and robotic prostate biopsy options. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to determine highly accurate patient profiles and then develop specific and appropriate treatments for our patients.