Tricky tumour removed with robotic arm help

    Thane couple Richa and Ramesh (names changed) cannot stop marveling at the advances in medical technology ever since the former underwent an operation two months ago. A robotic arm was used to remove a tricky tumour, measuring almost 10cm, that was growing in front of her tailbone.

    "Several doctors refused to conduct the surgery because they said the tumour was in a delicate place, needing them to remove the tailbone. The recovery period would have been long too," said 25-year-old Ramesh.

    On November 21, doctors at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital in Andheri used a robotic arm to reach the tumour and extracted it through four tiny holes on the abdomen. "I had minimal pain for two days thereafter. No one can believe I have undergone a major surgery," said Richa.

    Richa's tumour, measuring 9.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 7 cm, turned out to be a ganglioneuroma-a tumour starting from nerve cells. Ganglioneuromas can emerge in any part of the body, but they are usually noncancerous.

    Incidentally, Richa's tumour would never have been found if the couple hadn't been worried about their failure to conceive despite trying for a year. An ultrasound scan showed the tumour. "The tumour mass had grown to such a size that it was impinging on the uterus, which probably could be the reason for her failure to conceive," said surgeon Dr Jayadeep Palep, who operated on Richa.

    Experts said the case shows how technology can ease the pain and cut down hospital stay. "A conservative surgery would have resulted in the patient suffering loss of blood, a long recovery period and a lot of pain and discomfort. Using the robotic arm, the surgery was completed in three and a half hours and the patient went home on the third day of the surgery," said Dr Palep.

    Dr Ajay Bhandarwar, professor of surgery at JJ Hospital in Byculla, said the tumour isn't rare, but the approach certainly is.


    • A 25-year-old housewife who couldn't conceive for the last 15 months was diagnosed with a tumour between her tailbone and rectum.
    • The tumour - called a ganglioneuroma, measured 9.5x7.5x7 cm.
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    • Conventional surgery would have required doctors to remove her tailbone.
    • Doctors used a robotic arm to make four keyholes - two measuring 1cm in diameter and other two others measuring half a centimeter each.
    • In three and half hours, the tumor was removed in one piece with a blood loss of 30ml. The patient was discharged on the 3rd day of the surgery.

    Source: Tricky tumour removed with robotic arm help;TNN Jan 23, 2014; 04.08 AM IST; Ref Link: