Global Impact: Training for Robotic Surgeries in India

Dr. Hsieh with Gizmo, the da Vinci Surgical System robotFor the past three years, Michael Hsieh, MD, PhD, director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Program in the Pediatric Urology Service at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, has seen first-hand the advantages of using a robot to perform surgery on children. Now he is reaching out to instruct other surgeons on this innovative technology.

In May 2012, two pediatric urologists from Spokane, Washington, came to Packard Children’s to learn how to perform robotic surgery followed by Dr. Venkat Sripathi, a surgeon from Chennai, India.

Sripathi trained on the virtual reality simulator at Packard Children’s and observed Hsieh performing two surgeries using the high-tech da Vinci Surgical System robot, “Gizmo.” Once Sripathi returned to India, he performed two successful surgeries of his own using the same technology. It was the first time a robotic surgery was performed by an Indian-trained pediatric urologist in India.

“I am very grateful to Dr. Hsieh for his superb mentorship,” said Sripathi. “The use of the robot for surgery in children is certain to increase by leaps and bounds in India.”

Although pediatric robotic surgery is becoming more common, approximately only 24 children’s hospitals across the United States have active robotic surgery programs, according to Hsieh.

“The learning curve is quite significant to adapt the robotic technology for small children who have complex congenital anomalies,” he added.

The robotic technology allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex surgeries by making small surgical openings leaving the patient with smaller scars and a quicker recovery.

“It combines the dexterity and three dimensional view of open surgery with the minimum evasive nature of laparoscopic surgery,” added Hsieh, who performs as many as six surgeries a month using the robot.

The robotic technology is costly, but Hsieh said different companies are beginning to develop robotic technology platforms so it will open up the market and make it more affordable for other countries.

In the meantime, Hsieh is excited to share his knowledge and promote the benefits of this developing technology.

“Being located on the Pacific Rim, we are well poised to help promote pediatric robotic surgery in Asia, as well as on the West Coast, and I’m looking forward to introducing the technology to more surgeons,” said Hsieh, who will next train a Taiwanese surgeon in January.


3 Responses to “Global Impact: Training for Robotic Surgeries in India”

  1. Dr Intezar Ahmed

    Dear Dr Michael,
    I want to do a short fellowship / observership in Pediatric Robotic Urology.

  2. Dr Ashish Prasad

    Dear Dr Michael,
    I want to do a short fellowship / observership in Pediatric Robotic Urology.

    • JulJenkins

      Hi Dr. Prasad,

      We’re so pleased to hear of your interest in our program. Please email us directly at, and we will help facilitate your request.


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