Delhi Doctors Remove ‘Melon Sized’ Tumour From Woman’s Throat Using Robotic Surgery

This is the largest robotic thymectomy in India.

New Delhi: A hospital in Delhi has removed a 450 gram tumour, as big as a melon, from a woman’s throat through a minimally-invasive robotic surgery. The doctors said this was the first robotic surgery to remove such a large tumour in India.

Chuithing Golmei, a 57-year-old lady from Manipur was diagnosed with a large thymus gland tumour. She came to Delhi with the hope of avoiding a major surgery and hospitalisation. Dr Arun Prasad, Senior Robotic and Bariatric Surgeon of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, took up the challenge.

The surgery, which took place last week, lasted an hour-and-a-half. Ms Golmei, who is recovering well, has been discharged from the hospital. She said, “I could hear a machine-like sound but did not feel a thing. I had heard this removal of the thymus gland tumour is a painful process but I only have a slight discomfort where there stitches are nothing major.”

According to the doctors, the advantages of a robotic surgery are precision, smaller incisions, less blood loss, less pain and quicker healing.

With robotic thymectomy, thymus gland tumours are removed with three small cuts on the abdomen.

Thymus gland lies in the chest just above the heart and behind the breastbone. Traditionally, surgeries for tumours of this gland meant cutting open the chest from the centre with a cut about 20 cm in size. A patient had to be hospitalised for about a week to 10 days. The recovery, which was often painful and could take between 2 to 3 months, said doctors.

Dr Prasad told NDTV, “When we are operating in a limited space, we could endanger nearby important organs like the heart and lungs. Through this robotic thymectomy, a tumour of the size of a melon was sucked out with barely any blood loss.”

With robotic thymectomy, thymus gland tumours are removed with three small cuts on the abdomen. The splitting of the sternum of chest bone, needed earlier for this surgery, is no longer required. The technique uses enhanced 3D visualization of the structures combined with precise multi-directional instruments. This leads to less bleeding and accurate dissection. This surgery poses minimal risk to the vital organs in the chest cavity.

“As experience with technology increases, newer frontiers are being conquered leading to more patient comfort and relief. Hopefully, many more barriers will overcome in the coming times,” said Dr Prasad, who has been performing robotic surgeries since 2012 in the areas of thymus and bariatric surgery.

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