The future of robotic surgery in Hamilton is a little brighter since the da Vinci Surgical Robotic System at St. Joseph’s Healthcare was given another philanthropic infusion.

In 2011 the Boris family, the founders of Mountain Cablevision, donated $5 million to the robotic system -- one of the most advanced surgical tools in the world and the only one in the local health network. Tuesday, the family once again made a donation of $5 million to go towards system maintenance.

Where is the money for robotic surgery?

Initial funding was starting to wane leaving the hospital uncertain as to where new money would come from.

According to St. Joseph’s it costs about $3,500 more per surgery compared to a traditional procedure, and on top of that is a $180,000 annual maintenance cost.

The system works with surgeons as they sit at a video game style console and operate on patients remotely using foot pedals and hand controls. They are guided by a 3D camera and maneuver the slender robotic arms capable of reaching into areas too small for human hands.

"The outcomes we are seeing in our robotic surgery patients are incredible," says Dr. Anthony Adili, Chief of Surgery. 

"We're also seeing a trend in reduced need for blood transfusions and fewer complications post-surgery… so clearly we're excited about the opportunity to bring similar outcomes to even more patients thanks in large part to the Boris Family's generosity."

Robotic surgery is used to perform hysterectomies, gall bladder removals, prostate cancer treatment, heart valve operations, and other soft tissue operations

Robotic surgery is not covered by OHIP yet.

240 robotic surgeries performed

To date surgeons at St. Joe's have performed over 240 robotic-assisted surgeries.

"We've been so impressed with the way the robotic surgery program at St. Joe's has evolved over the past two years.  We want even more patients to have the chance to benefit from this incredible technology that is in the hands of some of the most skilled surgeons in the world, right here in Hamilton… right here at St. Joe's," said Les Boris and his sister Jackie Work.

Hospital President Dr. David Higgins announced Tuesday that the St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton will be the new home to The Boris Family Centre for Robotic Surgery.