Dr. Jihad Kaouk, a Cleveland Clinic urologist, and his team are making strides in the medical field by becoming the first in the U.S. to perform prostate surgeries using a Single Port SP Robot. This new robot, which Dr. Kaouk helped develop, utilizes new technology to make surgeries more precise and gives patients a speedy recovery.
Dr. Kaouk, 51, of Hunting Valley explained that the Single Port SP Robot uses one incision rather than four or five, which is what most surgical procedures require. The robot inserts all necessary surgical instruments through the single incision, then the instruments spread apart once inside the patient. This way, Dr. Kaouk said, the instruments do not clash together. The instruments are very slim, he added, and can move through narrow areas.
The robot can be used for a simple prostatectomy to remove all or part of the prostate gland and for a radical prostatectomy to remove the prostate and surrounding tissues. It is revolutionary in terms of the patient’s recovery and for the future of prostate surgery.
“This will remove all lateral incisions and that would help minimize pain and speed up recovery,” Dr. Kaouk said.
He clarified that the surgical procedure is not his invention, and said that he has worked with engineers for nine years to find a better method to perform the same surgeries. His role is to bring operating room challenges to the attention of the engineers, then to modify and test the robot in a lab before bringing it back to the operating room, he said. This project was a joint effort between surgeons and engineers, he said. Dr. Kaouk worked with Intuitive, a California company that develops and manufactures robotic products for surgery.
The Single Port SP Robot was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for urological surgeries in September and the Cleveland Clinic was the first to receive the robot.
Dr. Kaouk said in a recent surgery involving prostate and kidney cancer he only used one incision, instead of the standard five incisions, improving recovery time for the patient.
The future is bright for single port robots, Dr. Kaouk said. He plans to explore how surgeons can go straight into the bladder rather than the abdomen or bowel during surgery. He also said that this robot can be used for other types of surgery.
“This is just one of many projects,” he said. “We are looking to bring robotic automation to the operating room. A computer will be able to assist the surgeon to go beyond human capabilities.”
Dr. Kaouk said that he has always had an interest in engineering and problem solving, which led him to pursue the use of robotics in surgery.