New Delhi: In good news for liver doners, robotic surgery, which makes the procedure more safe and minimises their discomfort, is now available in India. The Liver Transplant Team at Medanta achieved a rare breakthrough by conducting India's first and the world's third robotic liver doner surgery three weeks ago.

36-year-old Rahmatullah, who underwent the path breaking surgery to donate 20 per cent of his liver to save his nephew, was discharged five days after the operation.

Four-year-old Ziad who became the first to be cured of his liver failure with a robotically removed liver has also also been discharged and is well.

"This is a godsend for liver donors who are otherwise healthy people undergoing major surgery to save their loved ones. This operation marks the beginning of new era in liver transplant. With this technology at our disposal, liver transplant surgery can now be conducted with minimal discomfort to the patient and less fatigue to the surgeons," Dr A S Soin, chief liver transplant surgeon and Chairman, Medanta Liver Institute said.

Ziad, who lives in Muscat, was brought to the hospital after being diagnosed with Tyrosinaemia, a genetic anomaly of metabolism associated with severe liver disease in infancy.

"Tyrosinaemia led to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in this little boy. Urgent liver transplant was the only respite. Unfortunately his parents could not donate as their blood group did not match with their son's. Ziad's uncle then volunteered to donate a portion of his liver," Dr Neelam Mohan, senior liver physician and director of the paediatric hepatology and
tranplant facility at Medanta said.

Explaining the procedure, Soin said, "The movement is the same as done in conventional surgeries. Movements are transmitted to the four robotic arms and instruments which
actually carry out the surgical steps on the patient.”

"The view is three dimensional. We can access areas which are not easy to access in open surgery. Prolonged surgery fatigue is eliminated. Since the robotic arms work through small incisions, at the end the operation scars are much less painful and considerably smaller."

He said, "We will gradually move to more patients. We will not be able to use it in all cases of liver donors as well as patients needing liver surgery but then gradually we will improve with time."