Robot-assisted surgery in urology

Written by: Mr Aniruddha Chakravarti
Published: | Updated: 05/06/2023
Edited by: Robert Smith

With advancements in technology, surgery for urological conditions has been revolutionised over the past 30 years. Mr Aniruddha Chakravarti, a leading consultant urological surgeon, spoke with us about robot-assisted surgery and the positive impact it has had on urology. We also discussed how it compares with older techniques.

We wanted to find out to what extent robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will be able to be used in future and whether they will ever be able to match the expertise, precision and care that our surgeons such as Mr Chakravarti offer.


How does robot-assisted surgery compare to traditional surgery?

Urological surgery used to be performed with an open surgery approach in the past and then in 1990, laparoscopic surgery came and we started performing minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Immediately, it was noticed that there is a huge difference.


This surgery offers many advantages. It improves vision for surgeons performing procedures, it is less painful for patients, and there is less blood loss. Minimally invasive surgery has made surgery much better and has not compromise results.


When we adopted laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery at my clinic, we were well aware that it had limitations in terms of ergonomics and vision because it reflected a two-dimensional picture instead of three dimensional and there was no tactile sensation.


Since then, there has been a continuous speed of improvement in technology. When robotic surgery finally arrived, it enabled three-dimensional vision. The instruments are extremely human-like or even better, there is much more precision when operating.


Urological surgeons, including myself, are one step further in terms of patient safety, improved quality of care, and getting the desired outcomes in approach to surgery. Robot-assisted surgery is still under development, although urologists worldwide have adopted it as much as they can.

So, what are the main advantages of robotic surgery over traditional surgery?

  •  Improved vision, very detailed and three dimensional.
  •  Better precision in terms of wristed movement of instruments.
  •  Better control of blood loss and tissue planes.
  •  Enhanced recovery.

Traditional surgery impacts the inside of the organs inside the abdomen and this affects the recovery of the patients. This is why robotic surgery is preferable. 

How much does robotic surgery cost in urology?

This is the main hindrance behind the wider adoption of the technology. Although it’s been in place for more than ten years, roughly fifteen, the adoption in general is not that great because of prohibitive costs. The current robots are from Intuitive Surgical, Inc. The capital costs approximately two million pounds plus a huge maintenance cost for the instruments.


So, unless you have a significant caseload, this kind of equipment is generally unaffordable. Therefore, they’re mostly only available in large tertiary medical centres.

Is robotic surgery more dangerous?

It’s not, as long as the surgeon is appropriately trained, and that there are well-defined pathways that are well structured. If the surgery follows it and if trained, it should be safer.

Will robots ever replace surgeons?

The baseline answer is, not in the near future but it’s in continuous development. A lot of development is going on at the moment that is focusing on trying to infuse AI for surgery. With continuous improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, we hope there will be a day when we will get more out of the robots.


However, in my opinion, I do not think a robot will be able to completely replace surgeons due to how human anatomy in patients changes from time to time. Whether a programmed robot will be able to replace humans who perform urological surgery remains to be seen but this is a question that needs to be answered in the future.


For more information regarding robotic surgery, we recommend getting in contact with Mr Aniruddha Chakravarti, a highly experienced consultant urological surgeon based in London.

By Mr Aniruddha Chakravarti

Mr Aniruddha Chakravarti is a leading consultant urological surgeon based in Birmingham. Specialising in robotic and laparoscopic kidney surgery, and prostate surgery procedures such as HoLEP, UroLift, and Green Light laser surgery, Mr Chakravarti also provides treatment and diagnosis for a wide range of urological conditions. 

He originally qualified as a medical graduate in 1990, before completing extensive training in urology, and specialist training in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He has since gained experience in a number of hospitals and clinics across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Mr Chakravarti has also completed specialist laparoscopy training at the European Institute of Telesurgery in Strasbourg, France, for which he received a laparoscopic surgery diploma. Through his substantial training and vast experience, he is an expert in all types of laser-assisted surgery. He is one of a small number of surgeons experienced in Holmium-YAG laser enucleation and morcellation of the prostate.

Mr Chakravarti is the founder of the Urology Consultancy (Birmingham) Limited, and has been involved in numerous research projects in the field of urology, such as the development of an encrustation-free catheter. He has been a principal investigator in many international clinical trials and is an expert advisor for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. He has also published extensively in peer-reviewed medical journals. 

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    Penis Enlargement (Phalloplasty)
    Adult circumcision
    Urologic Oncology
    Geriatric Urology
    Kidney transplantation
    Short frenulum
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.