Clínica Santa María performs first new robotic-assisted surgery in the world

A surgical feat using new technology that has been in development for nearly a decade is now a reality.

The medical team at the Robotic Surgery Center at Clínica Santa María marked a historic milestone by recently performing the world’s first robotic-assisted surgeries using a new, innovative tool. With Medtronic’s Hugo™ RAS (Robotic-Assisted Surgery) system, urologists Dr. Rubén Olivares and Dr. Alfredo Velasco led the team through three oncological procedures — two prostatectomies and one nephrectomy.

The surgeries were performed on June 19 and 20.

“We are very excited and optimistic. Having state-of-the-art technology and our patients being the first to benefit from it, places us as a country — historically — at the technological forefront in minimally invasive surgery," says Dr. Jorge Bravo López, digestive surgeon and head of the Robotic Surgery Center at Clínica Santa María. 

The Hugo™ RAS system was designed for a large range of surgical procedures, combining wrist instruments, 3D visualization and a powerful surgical video capability.

"I'm proud to have performed the very first clinical procedure with the Hugo RAS system," said Dr. Olivares. "From the open console and modular platform to the instrumentation, I know and trust, this innovative system is truly a partner in the OR. I feel energized by the possibility the Hugo RAS system brings to patients and clinicians and am honored to help pave the way for future surgeons, being able to offer a minimal invasive alternative on a regular basis."

Clínica Santa María has more than 10 years of experience with this type of interventions, including 17 specialists trained in robotic surgery. However, the emergence of the Hugo RAS system now allows even greater surgical options for patients.

The modern technology, which took more than eight years to build, may offer multiple benefits for patients, including:

  • Minimally invasion and less trauma in the compromised area
  • Smaller scars
  • Less bleeding
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • More affordable robotic technology

“This provides a new robotic surgery alternative to so many patients who need and, I dare say, deserve, a minimally invasive alternative, which will make it possible to return quickly to their activities and to everything that matters most to us: to be with our family again,” said Dr. Olivares.

For surgeons, the robotic-assisted system helps improve certain surgical aspects including greater maneuverability and versatility. The Hugo RAS system has four arms that have a wide range of movement, which is greater than that of a human hand, and can fully simulate a surgeon’s wrist for more precise maneuvers. This also allows easier and quicker access to more remote areas and different anatomical areas to be intervened.

Clínica Santa María is part of UnitedHealthcare’s local health services provider, Banmédica, which provides health care services and benefits in Chile, Colombia and Peru.

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