Robotics, 3D Imaging are Making Complex Human Surgeries Successful in Pakistan

Surgeons at Pakistan’s leading hospitals are benefiting from the introduction of advanced surgical equipment that enable highly precise surgery on the body’s most complicated organs, according to experts at Agha Khan University’s Surgical Innovations for the Developing World conference.

The presence of this advanced technology means that most complex surgeries can be done within the country. This is of great benefit to local patients since treatment in Pakistani hospitals is significantly less expensive than centres in the United States and England, according to the speakers.

Prominent surgeons explained that the use of the latest imaging technology at the country’s top healthcare institutions was allowing them to look deep within the body and to plan surgeries at a level of precision that was not possible before.

In addition, the availability of robotic arms and exoscopes in operating theatres was enabling more targeted, less-invasive treatment for patients.

Speaking at the conference, Dr Masood Umer, Associate Professor, Surgery, AKU, said:

“Today’s surgeons have never had better tools and technology to operate with. Like all developing countries, Pakistan suffers from resource constraints that requires us to find frugal innovations to problems and new ways to spread the knowledge and experience that makes the best surgeons.”

Dr Umer added that it takes many hours of training, observation and practice before one obtains mastery in a particular surgical area. However, innovations such as the use of life-like surgical simulators was enabling surgeons to learn their craft at a much quicker pace. Simulators allow surgeons to rehearse skills and hone their technique in a variety of cases. This practice enables them to be more prepared in the operating theatre and thereby reduce the chance of complications.

Other experts at the conference also praised the application of video conferencing technology which was enabling live surgeries to be seen at large gatherings of medical experts. Besides the benefits of watching more experienced surgeons cope with challenging cases, conferencing technology was also enabling doctors to discuss cases with peers from different countries.

Dr Shahzad Shamim, Assistant Professor, Surgery, AKU, said:

“Surgeons have to be ready to face unpredictable situations in the operating theatre. Conferences like these enable experts to share knowledge and research about rare cases as well as the skills needed to tackle the unexpected challenges that sometimes arise during surgeries.”

The two-day conference saw experts from Germany, USA, UK, UAE and Switzerland conduct workshops in 11 major surgical areas. Over 500 national and international surgeons, specialists and young doctors were present at the event at the AKU campus in Karachi.

Other speakers at the conference included public intellectual Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, Syed Ather Enam, Chair, Department of Surgery at AKU, and Ather Osama, Founder, Pakistan Innovation Foundation.