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MAHARASHTRA became the third state in the country to record a successful robotic kidney transplant after Gujarat and New Delhi. The kidney transplant surgery, conducted on July 2 at HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, (HNRF), Mumbai, saw a woman donating a kidney to her husband. Unlike regular kidney transplantation where the patient receives the kidney through a larger muscle cutting process, robotic surgery is conducted with only a small incision and involves no cutting of muscle. The Da Vinci robot is used in a specific way to ensure tremor free movement of the instrument thus causing no damage to the graft kidney. This ensures minimal chances of infection and faster recovery of the patient and the donor.
Andheri resident Leena Murlidharan (55) donated the organ to her husband C N Murlidharan (59) after he was admitted to the hospital with renal failure. “The family was apprised about the latest robotic technology and its benefits, including lesser risk of infection, lesser pain, and a faster return to normalcy. Higher magnification and finer scaled movement of robotic instruments ensured greater precision in this act,” said Shruti Tapiawalla, consultant at HNRF.
Doctors said that the particular robot has been in use previously for other surgeries but was used for the first time for a transplant. A team of doctors led by Dr Inderbir Gill, Head of Department, Urology and Robotics, HNRF, and MD, Distinguished Professor and Chair, USC Institute of Urology, University of Southern California conducted the surgery. “The cost of this transplant is not much higher than a regular transplant process which is worth Rs 5-6 lakhs,” Tapiawala added.
“It has been a privilege to perform Mumbai’s first robotic kidney transplant at the hospital considering it is the first of its kind in Maharashtra. The team worked together and we are thrilled the patient and the donor are doing well and the operation was a great success,” Gill said.
Gill added that robotic surgery allows kidney transplantation to be performed with great precision, minimal blood loss, and lesser chance of post-operative infection. “This is an advanced procedure performed in very few centers in the world,” he added.
Murlidharan had been on dialysis for the past one-and-a-half years. He said, “The robotic surgery involved much lesser pain. I was initially reluctant, but the doctors convinced me about the benefits. I am happy that I went ahead with it.” Narrating her experience, Leena said, “I decided to give my kidney for my husband’s normal life,” who added that she did her own research about the surgery before going ahead with it.
Patients suffering from chronic renal diseases tend to prefer renal replacement compared to dialysis for various reasons. Only three centers in India including Mumbai have performed these transplants as of now.