PGI hikes robotic surgery rate; still subsidised, say authorities

  • Tanbir Dhaliwal, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2015 11:38 IST
Post Graduate Institute of Medcial Education and Research

The rates of robotic surgery — commonly used to treat cancer patients — have been increased by Rs 10,000 for patients in general ward and Rs 20,000 for those staying in private wards at Post Graduate Institute of Medcial Education and Research. As per the new notice, even patients belonging to the BPL category will have to shell out Rs 10,000. The surgery was free of cost earlier for the patients of this category.

Now, patients from general and private wards will have to pay Rs 30,000 and Rs 60,000, respectively, for the surgery. The rates came into force from December 3.

Introduced in November 2014, nearly 215 patients, majority of them suffering from cancer, have undergone robot-assisted surgeries so far at the institute. At any given time, 10-15 patients are in the waiting list for the procedure.

“At PGI, the robotic surgeries are largely done on cancer patients having tumors in kidney, prostrate, urinary bladder and in other organs,” said Dr AK Mandal, who heads the urology department at the PGIMER.

“The technique gives better results in comparison to surgeries done manually. For example, in case a kidney tumor patient goes for an open surgery, the organ has to be removed, but with robotic surgery only tumor will be removed,” he said.

Also, BPL card-holder patients who didn’t have to pay anything for the procedure till will be paying `10,000 now. “We have increased the rate and are planning to increase it further. Reason being that one robotic surgery is costing the institute around Rs 90,000,” said Dr Mandal.

He said from next year, the robotic procedure could be made available for patients of gynaecology and ENT departments. “Two doctors from each department have been selected for training,” he said.

What is robotic surgery

This procedure is performed using tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm using a computer and can perform several complex operations with more precision and flexibility. The advance technology provides the surgeon with three-dimensional magnified vision, precise tissue handling and suturing, leading to early recovery and good results.

New rates for screening tests

To encourage people to choose latest liquid based cytology (LBC) technique over conventional Pap smear (papanicolaou test ), the PGI has decided to rejig the rates. The rates of LBC test has been reduced from `500 to `100 and rate of Pap smear has been increased from Rs 25 to Rs 100.

“We want to encourage women to use LBC, instead of conventional Pap smear method. Earlier, LBC test used to cost `500 and people used to avoid it, but now both tests will cost ‘100 each,” said Dr Arvind Rajwanshi, head of cytology department. He said the results of LBC test were more accurate.

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