New Delhi: In the
first such surgery in India, doctors at a hospital near here have
performed a robotic liver transplant to save the life of a
four-year-old child. Doctors say it is only the third operation of
its kind in the world.
The surgery was conducted last month at the Medanta Medicity
hospital in the national capital's Gurgaon suburb in Haryana,
doctors said here Thursday.
The Da-Vinci robot was used by the doctors on Rahmatullah, 36, who
donated 20 percent of his liver to his nephew Ziad, whose organ
had turned cancerous and had to be removed.
"Robotic surgery is usually performed for kidney, heart and
gynaecological operations. But it's use in liver transplant not
only increased the precision but also reduced surgery-related
troubles," said Medanta Liver Institute chairman A.S. Soin, who
led the team of surgeons.
Ziad, who was living with his parents in Oman capital Muscat, was
suffering from tyrosinemia, a rare genetic disorder due to which
the liver is unable to digest proteins.
"Even when Ziad developed rickets, which is one of the symptoms of
this disease, the doctors were not able to diagnose his
condition," said Neelam Mohan, Medanta's director of pediatric
Ziad developed rickets at age of two, but his liver condition was
detected much later. Ziad's father Mohd. Zakir Hussain, a
pharmacist, and his mother Mehe Zabin, who are originally from
Karnataka, were not able to afford the surgery in Muscat and
decided to come to India.
By then, Ziad's liver had turned cancerous and hence had to
completely removed. However, his parents' blood group differed
from Ziad's and so his uncle Rahmatullah came forward for the
"The donor in a liver transplant undergoes the surgery only for
saving someone's life. A robotic surgery encouraged his uncle for
the donation as it has greater precision and leaves a mere three
to four inch scar," Soin explained.
The operation cost Rs.15 lakh and this was raised through charity.
The cost of robotic surgery on the donor costs nearly Rs.75,000 to
80,000 more than a normal donor surgery. Doctors, however, say the
cost will come down with time as more robotic surgeries are
"In another year or 18 months, the cost difference will come down
to around Rs.25,000," said Soin.
"It costs Rs.1 lakh just to start the robot. If three or four
surgeries are conducted in a line, the cost will automatically
come down," he explained.
And for Ziad and his parents, it's nothing short of a miracle.
"It is another life for Ziad," a relieved Mehe Jabin said.