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Robotic surgery saved my life

Lucy Ruto had a revolutionary, non-invasive procedure conducted on her after developing a thyroid condition as a result of breast cancer. It took only eight hours and when she woke up she could eat without any challenges

Lucy Ruto, 38, and a mother of three from Mombasa, was aware of breast cancer but she never thought that she could be a victim. One day she started feeling pain under one of her breasts and she decided to see a doctor.

After the test, the doctor told her that she had breast cancer and she needed to undergo surgery immediately. The doctors said only one breast was affected and if the problem was not attended to the other breast would also be affected.

It was hard for her to absorb the news and she didn’t inform any member of her family. The surgery was to be performed the following day but after consulting her family, she decided to go  to India for treatment.

“First, I goggled to know which hospital is the best and we settled on Apollo hospital in Delhi. After getting a quotation we raised some money even though we didn’t get the whole amount required,” she said.

Upon reaching there, Positron Emission Tomography (PET)  scan was performed and it showed that both her breasts were affected contrary to the  earlier prognosis and she started her chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cash she had run out after her second session and she was given drugs and sent back home.

One month later Lucy was introduced to A and Global Kenya, which is under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and they funded her treatment, transport and accommodation in India where successful surgery was performed. “After the surgery ,I started my radiotherapy sessions and two chemotherapy sessions and I was well enough to come  back. I was supposed to go back after a year for check-up,”she adds.

In February last year she went back to India for check-up and after a scan the doctor said that she had a thyroid problem and was supposed to have another surgery to remove it.

“I was confused because according to me that surgery which was to be performed on my neck would leave a permanent mark, something I didn’t want. I was a bit reluctant,” she says.

Upon discussion with her doctor she was informed about robotic surgery and she bought into the idea because it is painless, scarless and there is no bleeding and it cures within a day. It is also affordable.

“I used Sh500,000 for this surgery and it took me eight hours only. When I woke up I started eating immediately and I felt better. This is the best surgery ever and I would encourage people to go for it,” she adds. 

Robotic surgery or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery procedures performed through tiny incisions. It is also sometimes used in certain traditional open surgical procedures.

Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared to traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods. 

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