British Columbia

New robotic surgery system to replace VGH's retiring 'Jack'

Vancouver General Hospital is getting a new $4 million robot-assisted surgery system to conduct minimally invasive surgeries.

The $4 million system will feature a teaching console, 3D camera, and bedside cart with robotic arms

Dr. Peter Black demonstrates how to use "Jack," the current robot-assisted surgical system which will be replaced by a new system before the end of the year. (Tristan Le Rudulier)

Vancouver General Hospital is getting a new $4 million robot-assisted surgery system to conduct minimally invasive surgeries, which it says help speed patient recovery times.

The new system will replace the hospital's current robot system, nicknamed "Jack." It's retiring after 10 years and more than 1,000 surgeries.

The new surgical system will feature a teaching console, 3D camera, and a bedside cart with four robotic arms.

One of the arms is used to position the camera, while others handle the surgical instruments, which are controlled by a surgeon making hand and foot movements at a console. 

"There is no question that the patient experience with surgery is enhanced with the robot," said  Dr. Peter Black, senior research scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre.

"There's less blood loss, it's less invasive, there's less pain, and there's a quicker recovery."

The robotic arms of the system are controlled by a surgeon making hand and foot movements at a console. (Tristan Le Rudulier)

Black said the robotic technology can be used for prostate surgery, cardiovascular bypasses and hysterectomies.

Vancouver Coastal Health is purchasing the $4 million system with help from private donations. It received a gift of $1 million from Hollyburn Properties and the Sander family.

The same group also donated another $1 million to upgrade the hospital's MRI machine. 

Stephen Sander and family donated $1 million towards the purchase of a new $4 million dollar robot-assisted surgical system at VGH. They also donated $1 million towards the refurbishment of an MRI machine. (Tristan Le Rudulier)

"Canada has been very good to me, and it's time for me to pay back," said Stephen Sander, who immigrated to Canada 60 years ago from India.

The new robotic system is expected to be in place by the end of 2017. 

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