Abu Dhabi: A robotic surgery, that helps trained physicians place specialised needles deep in the body with pinpoint accuracy, was performed for the first time in the UAE on a 65-year-old patient suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Robotic operations are among the most advanced procedures in medicine, offering greater precision, miniaturisation, smaller incisions, decreased blood loss, less pain, and quicker healing time.

The patient was diagnosed by doctors at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) who performed a 1.5 hour procedure called celiac ganglion block and neurolysis — a complicated operation used mostly for patients with severe cancer pain.

The celiac ganglion is a very small nerve plexus located deep in the abdomen and adjacent to major arteries and critical abdominal structures.

The indications for celiac neurolysis are varied: from severe cancer pain, unremitting abdominal pain, neurospasms, peptic ulcer, and pancreatitis.

Using the robotic arm, precise 3-D positioning of two specialised needles was performed. Pain relieving medication was then carefully injected into the area.

The patient had better relief from pain after the surgery.

The technique is also known to reduce the duration of hospital stay, blood transfusions, and use of pain medication, such as morphine.

Further advantages include an ability to guide the instrument in ways not possible by the human hand and with three-dimensional magnification.

"These type of operations are among the most difficult to perform and require expert training and intimate knowledge of human anatomy. Accurate needle placement is essential or the side effects of an incorrect needle placement can be catastrophic for the patient. The CT scan guided the robotic arm helps to place the specialised needles with extreme accuracy and precision and in a single pass. Ultimately, the patient receives relief from their severe abdominal pain and allows them a more dignified quality of life," said Dr Haider Shah, a neurointerventional radiologist and consultant who performed the procedure.