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.
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.