Robotic surgery is continuing to attract intense interest from the worldwide media, due to its remarkable advantages that include reducing the recovery time after surgery to less than two weeks. This type of surgery has helped numerous patients to quickly reclaim their normal family lives and careers after leaving the operating table.
One of the most discussed cases within the American media involves Stephen Hood, a campus policeman for a Chicago-area university, who underwent a triple bypass procedure through robotic surgery. What was most astounding about the surgery is that there was no need to cut his chest open, and there were no side effects such as cracked ribs or artificial heart revival.
Mr Hood - who is in his 60s - was suffering from an 85% blockage in his blood vessels, which put him at astronomically high risk of a heart attack. Dr Husam Balkhy, a Cardiac Surgeon and Director of Minimally Invasive & Robotic Cardiac Surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine, is one of the world’s most respected, experienced and knowledgeable experts in robotic heart surgery.
According to Dr Balkhy: “In the last few years, open heart surgery has improved a lot and we no longer need to cut open the patient’s chest. We can now fix the mitral valve and exchange arteries through the robot, going through the ribs in an opening that is 1cm by 1.5cm. This type of surgery mostly relies on the doctor being an expert in dealing with the robot, which in itself is a highly specialized surgeon.”
Stephen Hood is extremely happy to have quickly returned to his normal life. Just four weeks after surgery he was able to take part in his favourite sport (cycling), which would have been totally impossible if he had undergone a conventional open heart procedure performed in the traditional way.
Dr Balkhy added: “Patients can return to their normal lives very quickly and regain their health. This proves that robotic surgery is an extremely effective way of converting a complex heart patient to a simple surgical patient. Patients will feel very little pain and the risk of complications is minimal. This type of surgery is the best practice for advanced care in the future.”
Dr Balkhy is one of the very few experts worldwide who are qualified enough to perform this surgery. He has conducted over 700 robotic surgeries in the past four years, and regularly travels around the world to save lives in places as far apart as Japan and Brazil. He also educates other surgeons on the techniques of this specialized surgery, so that the skills transfer can empower specialists around the world.
The medical community in the UAE is set to benefit immensely from international medical service providers. Gulf Care International helps patients to receive specialty care outside the UAE with world-class support services when they are referred to the University of Chicago Medicine.