by Georja Ryan
A BIZARRE dream of a Dr Who-like robot chasing him down the hospital corridor wasn't enough to deter Peter Martin from being the first person to be operated on by the Coast's latest resident robot, da Vinci Xi.
It may not sport a floppy hat or excessive facial hair like its legendary namesake, or look like a Dalek robot from Peter's dreams, but da Vinci Xi is quickly changing lives of Sunshine Coast residents one operation at a time. Peter is proof of that.
In mid-2017, Peter from Maroochydore was diagnosed with prostate cancer which is frightening news for any man.
After a few hours of processing the information of his diagnosis, his positive attitude kicked back in and he was determined "to get rid of this and move on".
"When I was told I would be operated on by a robot, it was a little bit exciting to be honest," he said.
"I did have a funny dream before the operation that I was being chased by a robot down the hospital corridor, but it was quite humorous, not a nightmare.
"I used to joke about the robot and say to people "I just hope they keep it well-fed!"
He was the first person at Buderim Private Hospital to be operated on by da Vinci Xi on October 27, 2017; a state-of-the-art piece of innovation with two-metre-long arms, a central operating tower and surgeon's console.
The robot mimics the surgeon's movement with incredible precision and can offer a less-invasive alternative to keyhole surgery.
We caught up with Peter one month after his operation to see how he was recovering.
"I'm feeling pretty good. When the hospital phoned me the other day to check in I was actually walking through Noosa National Park, so I'm doing quite well I think," he said.
"I haven't done anything too strenuous, but six weeks (after the operation) I can start doing exercises again."
Recovery from the robotic surgery is much quicker than traditional keyhole surgery.
"I know the nurses were amazed at how much less they had to do to look after me," Peter said.
"Under the traditional system, I would have had lines and drips and drains coming out of me and been in hospital for a week, but I was there for two nights then back home."
Buderim Private Hospital urologist and clinical lead for robotic surgery Dr Tim Nathan, who performed Peter's surgery, said having this robotic technology at Buderim Private Hospital meant locals could have complicated procedures done in their own city.
"Now patients don't have to travel to Brisbane for this surgery so it makes it much easier on them and their family," Dr Nathan said.
"More advantages are that it's minimally invasive - instead of having one large open incision, it's six little ones. It means there is less bleeding, less pain, shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery and less scarring.
"It provides much better visualisation than standard keyhole surgery, and the robotic arms are far more dextrous - they have little joints and wrists so they can move in very tight spaces."
The da Vinci Xi is currently only used at Buderim Private Hospital for prostate cancer patients, but Dr Nathan said the hospital was looking to advance its uses for kidney and bowel surgery and gynaecology as a multi-purpose tool.
Peter said those in line for a robotic surgery should not fear it, but embrace the advancements happening on our home soil.
For more information on the robotic surgery available at Buderim Private Hospital, head HERE.