Hear from Dexter surgeons

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Burkhard Stoffels

LEAD SURGEON / HEILIG GEIST HOSPITAL COLOGNE-LONGERICH, DEPARTMENT FOR GENERAL-, VISCERAL- AND AMBULATORY SURGERY

Dr. Stoffels leads the surgical team at the Heilig Geist Hospital in Cologne-Longerich. In this joint interview with Prof. Kalff, he recounts experiences and insights from early contributions to the development of Dexter. Distalmotion got the end user – i.e. surgeons – involved from the outset, in a collaborative, co-development approach with leading physicians from all over the world. In Dr. Stoffels’ words, this yielded a robot that is designed “to preserve proven techniques that make sense to keep around, while also unlocking new opportunities for surgeons, thanks to Dexter’s flexible approach to robotic assistance”. Dexter’s adaptability means more flexibility for surgeons, to the extent that they are finally free to choose their preferred setups, tools and techniques for every step of a procedure. Dr. Stoffels also points out that complex surgical procedures will always be teamwork, a collective effort in the OR, with shared roles and responsibilities in delivering optimal patient outcomes. He therefore sees significant merit in an integrated, open-platform approach that enables teams to work the way they are used to and also accommodates the sort of collaboration that can accelerate learning curves in surgical training.

Prof. Dr. med. Jörg C. Kalff

CHIEF GENERAL SURGEON AND CLINIC DIRECTOR / UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BONN, DEPARTMENT FOR GENERAL-, VISCERAL-, THORAX- AND VASCULAR SURGERY

Prof. Kalff leads the general surgery team at the University Hospital Bonn as director of the unit and chief general surgeon. In this double-header interview, together with Dr. Burkhard Stoffels, Prof. Kalff describes the research and evaluation process that led him and his team to meet Dexter and the Distalmotion staff. He previews how hybrid access to the patient – the ability to choose freely between tools and techniques, combining laparoscopic and robotic approaches –unlocks previously unattainable freedom of choice, thus creating new opportunities to scale a robotics program across departments, ORs and indications. In exploring the opportunities that Dexter unlocks for hospitals, Prof. Kalff speaks on venturing into new, previously unattained territory, for example in terms of volume, efficiency and quality of care provided, but also introduces a reflection process, reminding of century old, proven principles in surgery that are well worth preserving. Specific examples of said fundamental principles of surgery are the concepts of remaining sterile and always having direct patient access – thus reaping the benefit of being in permanent, complete control of an OR and a procedure. These are concepts and associated benefits that surgeons relish and should not have to give up.

  • Prof. Luigi Boni

  • CHIEF GENERAL SURGEON AND PROFESSOR OF SURGERY / POLICLINICO HOSPITAL AND UNIVERSITY OF MILAN
  • Prof. Boni and his team at the Policlinico Hospital in Milan lead the way in providing best-in-class minimally invasive care, conducting the vast majority of their procedures laparoscopically. Prof. Boni considers robotics “a tool to boost the skills of the surgeon”, thus he differentiates between Dexter’s hybrid approach, and the traditional, fully-robotic approach. Prof. Boni dives into technical specifics such as the distinct benefits of Dexter’s micro-clutching capabilities. He also shares a personal recount of Dexter/Distalmotion’s development story.
  • Prof. Klaus-Peter Jünemann

  • CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF UROLOGY / UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL KIEL, KURT SEMM CENTRE FOR LAPAROSCOPIC AND ROBOTIC SURGERY
  • Prof. Jünemann is a urological surgeon and founder of the Kurt-Semm Center for Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery. He is in favor of putting surgeons back in the driver's seat, empowering them to choose freely between laparoscopy and robotics. He also advocates for making surgeons feel at home and comfortable by re-establishing proximity to their assistants, nurses and the patient. That way OR teams can function better, creating what Prof. Jünemann calls a "win-win-win situation" for Dexter surgeons, their OR teams and patients.
  • Prof. Kingsley Ekwueme

  • CONSULTANT UROLOGICAL SURGEON / GLAN CLWYD HOSPITAL
  • Based at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Kingsley Ekwueme is Professor of Urology at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. He works for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Royal Liverpool Teaching Hospital as a consultant urological surgeon. Prior to testing Dexter, he did not think it was possible to design a robot that does not totally abandon the benefits of laparoscopy, but translates the advantages of laparoscopy and robotics into an integrated platform. He calls Dexter: "A robot with a laparoscopic feel… a winner, any time, any day."
  • Prof. Dieter Hahnloser

  • Colorectal surgeon / University Hospital Lausanne
  • Dieter Hahnloser has practiced colorectal surgery for over 20 years and adopted robotics into his daily practice almost a decade ago. In his view, the key to facilitating the widespread adoption of robotics lies in identifying procedures where surgeons and patients each stand to benefit from the use of robotic aid – and designing a robot that is versatile enough to cater to these various procedures and steps in the surgical work flow. Dexter’s hybrid, open platform approach to robotic surgery allows just that.
  • Mr. Arcot Venkat

  • CONSULTANT COLORECTAL SURGEON / BASINGSTOKE HOSPITAL
  • Arcot Venkat specializes in colon cancer, laparoscopic hernia and laparoscopic pelvic floor procedures. He believes in the patient benefits of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, and feels a hybrid approach to robotics, like Dexter, can help overcome certain limitations of laparoscopy. Mr. Venkat is particularly fond of the idea of using the robot when it makes most sense, never just for the sake of it. He sees significant benefits in being able to swiftly dock and dedock, to switch between robotics and laparoscopy.
  • Mr. Jamie Kelly

  • Lead upper GI surgeon / Southampton University Hospital
  • Jamie Kelly’s clinical interests are in cancer and bariatric surgery, he specializes in minimally invasive laporoscopic surgery. He is convinced that robotics will be the future of surgery, and is keenly awaiting a robotic solution that is designed for how surgeons actually work, a solution that is natural and does not feel imposed, while also being affordable and allowing different specialties to leverage the benefits of robotic aid under tariff. Dexter addresses this need and caters to said expectations.
  • Prof. Richard Hindley

  • CONSULTANT UROLOGICAL SURGEON / Hampshire Hospitals
  • Prof. Richard Hindley is a urological surgeon who would like to see robotics become accessible for a larger number of operations and across a broader range of specialties. Prof. Hindley sees significant potential in Dexter’s integrated, open platform approach to robotics and laparoscopy. He is convinced that Dexter can help improve surgeon skills by shortening learning curves, while also allowing surgeons to keep using their preferred laparoscopic equipment, thus ultimately producing better outcomes for patients.