by Gil Ronen
Rambam Health Care Campus has joined the vanguard of world-class hospitals that perform operations by means of the Da Vinci surgical robot. Dr. David Samadi, who is considered the world’s leading expert in the removal of prostate tumors, used the Da Vinci robot acquired by Rambam to perform the medical center’s first procedure of this sort.
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Among robotic prostate surgery’s advantages are fewer infections, no danger of hemorrhaging, and a reduced risk to male sexual functioning. Research also indicates a shorter length of hospital stay after undergoing robotically assisted surgery.
A 72-year-old Haifa resident suffering from prostate cancer has made history twice today: he is both the first patient in the OR at Rambam to have undergone a prostatectomy by means of a sophisticated $2.6M robot, and the first patient in Israel to be operated upon by Dr. Samadi.
The operation generated great excitement among Rambam’s surgeons, who watched it transmitted live to a hospital auditorium. The Da Vinci has additional uses, such as gynecological and general surgery, soon to be implemented at Rambam.
Dr. Samadi, 43, is among the best-known surgeons in the world. A Persian Jew whose family left Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution, he was educated in Europe and in the United States. Today, he is Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center School of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Samadi, who has become a well-known personality in American households by virtue of his role as a medical consultant on the Fox Network, has carried out more than 3,000 surgical operations with the assistance of the Da Vinci.
The operation represents a new breakthrough for Rambam, positioning the hospital at the cutting edge of the world of medical technology. “I am very proud and privileged to be part of this groundbreaking news in Israel,” said Dr. Samadi. “This first robotic prostate surgery has been completed with success. This collaboration between me and Rambam is a special collaborative bond.”
Dr. David Kakiashvili has been named director of the Robotics Unit at Rambam. He recently returned from a three-year fellowship at Toronto General Hospital, which is ranked as one of the world’s leading university medical centers in surgical removal of prostate tumors. In one year, Dr. Kakiashvili has performed more than 80 prostate surgeries by means of the Da Vinci, and will be providing Rambam’s experienced urological staff with training in surgical robotics.
Acquisition of the Da Vinci Surgical System by Rambam has been made possible through the generosity of Fred and Nader Ohebshalom, the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York, the Wolfson Foundation, the Crown Foundation, Alan C. Mendelson, and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.