‘The gold standard’: A surgical robot and a cancer patient

The Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Published Friday November 25, 2022

Daryl, the four-armed robot, is perched in a corner of bustling operating theatre No. 8 at St. Paul’s Hospital on a recent Monday morning. It’s almost time to dock.

In a few hours, the robot — the only one of its kind in Saskatchewan — will remove a man’s cancerous prostate. Its surgical instruments, working through four small ports in the patient’s body, will snip, cut, cauterize and stitch. Daryl will probe deep, all four arms working with a precision unmatched by the human hand.

“It’s a fascinating thing,” says Dr. Ivar Mendez, Saskatchewan’s head of surgery and an enthusiastic proponent of the new robot, which began work in the province this fall.

“The robotic wrist has 360 degrees of freedom. They can manipulate tissues in a very gentle manner. They don’t tire. You can have more than two hands — three, four instruments at the same time. And you’re able to do these very complex surgeries.”

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