Robotic masterpiece arrives at Mater Mackay


A ground-breaking robotic surgical system which will deliver state-of-the-art medical care to Central Queensland patients has arrived at Mater Private Hospital Mackay.

The da Vinci X robotic system, which has been used to perform more than nine million urology, gynaecology, colorectal, cardiac, head, neck and thoracic surgeries worldwide, will begin operating in Mackay next month.

Mater Private Hospital Mackay Acting General Manager Chris Junge said the arrival of the world-class system was a significant milestone for health care in Central Queensland.

“Robotic-assisted surgeries are becoming common in capital cities to improve patient outcomes, and it is exciting that the Mackay community is now able to benefit from these surgeries too,” Mr Junge said.

“Robotic technology is the future of healthcare and Mater aims to be at the forefront of these advances to improve the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders.

“The da Vinci X surgical system was made possible by community fundraising conducted by our philanthropic arm, Mater Foundation, and I want to thank everyone who has donated to Mater for helping to bring this technology to regional Queensland.”

Oakenden mechanic George Elcombe, 50, has already undergone robotic-assisted surgery with a similar system at Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

Mr Elcombe said having access to the technology locally was a big coup for the region.

“I went to my GP and he referred me on to urologist Dr Kenny Rao,” Mr Elcombe said.

“Through the tests, I discovered it was stage two cancer in my prostate.

“Dr Rao explained what was involved in robotic-assisted surgery and I agreed to that. In the end, I wasn’t even in hospital for four days.

“I had my procedure in March this year and my partner travelled up to Townsville with me for it – so to know that you now don’t have to worry about travel and accommodation is really comforting.

“This technology is a great thing for Mackay.”

Dr Rao said he had already performed more than 100 da Vinci procedures in Townsville, resulting in less pain and faster recoveries for patients.

“Until now, I have had to travel to Townsville to offer robotic-assisted urology procedures to Central Queenslanders,” Dr Rao said.

“Being able to offer this very advanced level of surgery in Mackay, where our patients can stay close to their loved ones, is really exciting.

“Surgical robots do not replace the role of surgeons, but they enhance the surgical experience for both clinicians and patients as they enable smaller incisions, greater maneuverability and, in many cases, shorter hospital stays, less pain and faster recovery times.

“For urology procedures in particular, robotic surgery allows for faster return of urinary continence and superior preservation of erectile function compared to open surgery.”

Mater Foundation Chief Executive Andrew Thomas said regional Queenslanders deserved equal access to the latest surgical technology and know-how.

“Thanks to community generosity, Mater is cementing itself as a leader in robotic-assisted surgeries in Queensland by investing in several surgical-assistive robots in Central Queensland,” Mr Thomas said.

“The da Vinci X will join the Stryker Mako and Zimmer-Biomet ROSA systems at Mater Private Hospital Mackay, which have also been proudly supported by community fundraising through Mater Foundation.

“However, the da Vinci surgical robot greatly expands the range of surgery and patients that Mater can support.

“This is a story of the community coming together, including people who purchase a ticket in a Mater Prize Home for $2, people who support events like Mater Giving Day, and philanthropists, all united by the goal of improving patient outcomes.”

“Mater Foundation will continue to fund vital equipment as well as healthcare services to regional hospitals across Queensland to ensure that every Queenslander, regardless of where they live, has access to the best possible healthcare.”

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