A year and Rs 20 crore later, robotic surgery still a nonstarter at PGI

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2014 13:43 IST

Even after one year of getting a robot, the robotic surgery has failed to take off at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

Around a year back , the PGIMER had purchased a robotic surgery unit by spending Rs 20 crore. However, the site to install the unit has yet not been prepared, and it lies unpacked in the corridor of Nehru Hospital.

According to experts, who wished not to be named, soon the technology will be outdated and new models of robotic surgery unit are already being discussed in the market. The unit was procured for the department of urology.

“It is a case of sheer ill planning. How can you purchase equipment that is to be used after more than a year? I am pretty sure that by the time it will be opened, it will be outdated,” said a professor, who wished not to be named.

According to sources in the PGIMER’s engineering wing, it will take at least another six months to make the robotic surgery unit functional. Around one-and-a-half years back , the institute administration had floated tenders to procure a robotic surgery unit and it reached the institute premises in last summer.

The ill planning on the institute’s part has been at display since then, as the operation theatre where it was to be installed is not ready. The entire work to prepare the site for the installation of the robotic unit was started a month after the robot reached the institute. The renovation work for the installation of robotic unit, under which 12 private rooms have been dismantled at Nehru Hospital, is still going on.

The work of site preparation for robotic unit was awarded to National Building Construction Corporation as part of renovatio n and modernisation of Nehru Hospital.

The quickness of procuring the robot before preparing the site for i nstall at i on has also raised questions on the PGIMER’s decision.

PGIMER director Dr YK Chawla had also announced last year that the institute would start robotic surgery soon.

Significantly, Delhi’s All-India Institute of Medical Sciences had already i nt ro duced t he same system in the urolo g y department in 2010. They are even performing robot-assisted (weight-loss) surgeries.


It is a robotically-assisted surgery, which helps overcome the limitations of minimallyinvasive surgery and enhances the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery.


At PGIMER, a robotic surgery unit will be set up under the urology department where it will be useful in kidney cancer surgeries and to lesser extent surgeries of the bladder.

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