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Dr. Robot will see you now: Fraser Health launches robotics surgery program

The program will operate out of Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian hospitals
A surgeon sits at a robotics surgery console to perform an operation. Robotic surgeries are much less invasive, more precise and allow for a faster recovery time with less pain according to Fraser Health’s new program. (Getty Images)

Robots may not be taking over the world just yet, but they are going to start taking on surgery. Not to worry though, they went to medical school.

A new program based in Surrey, launched by Fraser Health, is seeking to boost the number of robotic surgeries, according to a news release from the health authority.

Robotic surgery involves a surgeon who sits at a console unit and operates two robotic arms. Commonly used in laparoscopic—sometimes known as “keyhole”—procedures, the incision required is much smaller and allows for a less invasive operation overall. Using robotic technology, the instruments are more precise and in turn contribute to a shorter and less painful recovery for the patient, the release reads.

“We look forward to the benefits this new program will provide patients and surgeons for many years to come,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

READ MORE: New eye, surgical daycare units open at Peace Arch Hospital

With a price tag of $9 million, the program will operate out of Surrey Memorial Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

Surrey Memorial will be focusing on ear, nose and throat surgeries as well as thoracic—operations on the heart, lungs or esophagus.

Royal Columbian’s urology specialty will be the program’s focus, and Fraser Health will eventually look to expand the program to other specialities at both hospitals.

“The new program at Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian Hospitals will enable faster recovery times from surgery, allowing our patients to get back to doing the things they love with their families and friends,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health.

The program is expected to be operational by fall 2025.

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