New robo-supported tech attracting medical tourists to South Africa

Netcare launches new robot-supported surgical system at its Johannesburg hospital, in response to growing demand for minimally invasive surgery from international patients.

A hybrid theatre, equipped with a robot-supported angiography system device for ‘minimally invasive’ surgical procedures, has opened at Netcare’s Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Siemens ARTIS pheno device enables a range of intricate image-guided surgical interventions for the treatment of overweight patients and those with multiple conditions and complex vascular conditions.
It is the second Siemens ARTIS system installed at a Netcare hospital in South Africa.

The first was installed at its Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town last year – the first technology of its kind installed in an African hospital and one of the first in the world.

The technology is used to visualise the inside of blood vessels and organs and enables procedures to be accurately planned and performed via tiny incisions in the skin, avoiding larger surgical incisions used in traditional open surgery.

The device scans up to 15% faster than other systems which reduces radiation exposure to the patient and treatment team.

Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division, said: “The acquisition of this equipment is a major investment by Netcare in the quality of care we are committed to providing our patients. We regard the commissioning of this system, which we have carefully researched, as the most advanced and versatile technology of its kind available. We therefore view this as an important advancement for medicine on the continent.”

Dr Pradeep Mistry, a vascular surgeon at the Sunninghill Hospital, said: “These minimally invasive interventions, as they are known, mean that patients tend to suffer less post-surgery discomfort and are able to get back on their feet much more quickly. They are also safer to use in more vulnerable patients whose health is severely compromised for one or more reasons.

These kinds of procedures are becoming increasingly popular among patients and referring doctors both locally and around the world.”

The robot-supported technology can be used in all fields of medicine including cardiology, urology, orthopaedics, neurology and trauma.