NZ Herald asked Dr Sunny Srinivasa for a comment on the role of Robotic Surgery for the article titled “The life and death of a gallbladder” by Steve Braunias

I interviewed Sunny Srinivasa, New Zealand’s only gallbladder surgeon (he specialises in the severely oversyllabic field of hepatopancreatic biliary surgery, or HPB) with formal robotic training. He spoke on the phone at Christchurch airport, about to fly home to Auckland after giving a masterclass at the annual conference of the Scientific Congress of Australasian College of Surgeons. His presentation was niftily titled, “I want a HPB robot.”

His sentences tramped like a T2 terminator over the bones of dear old lap hole. “Robot technology is undoubtedly superior to conventiaonal keyhole surgery.” And: Technologically, it’s like moving from a Nokia to a smartphone.” He was calling from the future.

But he somewhat actually underplayed the importance and threat of the robot. he said “At present, and at least for now, I don’t foresee a role for the robot to be used routinely for gallbladder surgery, which is to say the conventional key hole surgery offers an excellent result. In all the evidence to date, the robot doesn’t necessarily make anything better.”

He expanded on that point, saying that its real use if for more complex surgery.

“So that’s a very important distinction. The best application of robotic technology would not be to ubiquitously use it for the gallbladder, because conventional keyhole surgery is absolutely fine.”

Read full article – NZ Herald | PDF

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