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Robotic Kidney Transplant - Everything You Should Be Aware About!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, MCh - Urology, Fellowship, Faculty (Assistant Professor)
Urologist, Mohali  •  18 years experience
Robotic Kidney Transplant - Everything You Should Be Aware About!

For a long time, open surgery was the only way to perform kidney transplantation for end-stage renal disease. However, open surgery carries some risks, which is why a new, safer technology has been developed. This technology is called Robot-Assisted Kidney Transplantation (RAKT).

What is RAKT?

Robot-Assisted Kidney Transplantation is a minimally invasive surgery where a robotic hand, controlled by a surgeon, performs the transplantation. Only a few surgeons in the world are qualified and experienced enough with this technology to be able to perform RAKT successfully.

How is the RAKT surgery performed?

In the case of conventional surgery, a large incision is made through which doctors remove your diseased kidneys and insert the healthy organ. However, in the RAKT procedure, four or five very small incisions are made. The robotic device has surgical instruments and an HD camera attached to it. This camera allows the surgeon to monitor the entire procedure, while a special controller helps in moving the robotic arm.

Since the robotic device is much more flexible than a human hand, this flexibility allows the hand to easily reach inside and perform the surgery through the small incisions. However, not all surgeons are capable of controlling the robotic arm accurately to perform the operation. Special training is required for the same.

What are the benefits of RAKT surgery?

Several benefits of the RAKT procedure make it better than the traditional open surgery. Here is a look at some of its advantages.

• The robotic hand is much more accurate than any human hand can ever be. This is because human beings suffer from hand tremors. In such a serious operation, even a minor tremor can lead to complications during the surgery.
• This surgery reduces the chances of complications for people with end-stage renal disease.
• Obese people cannot undergo normal kidney transplant until they lose some weight. However, doctors can perform the robot-assisted procedure on overweight and obese patients as well.
• Due to the minimally invasive nature of the surgery, you can expect reduced blood loss, pain, scarring and recovery time. Additionally, the patient will not have to stay at the hospital as long if they undergo the RAKT procedure.

Preparation for RAKT:

Doctors will ask you to do the following to prepare for the robot-assisted kidney transplantation.

• Try to lose excess weight
• Stop drinking alcohol and smoking
• Regular exercise
• Undergo dialysis before transplant
• Undergo a number of lab tests
• Get yourself vaccinated as instructed by your doctor.

Speak to your doctors about RAKT. He/she will tell you whether you qualify for this safer procedure.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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