Peter Mac is one of the few public hospitals in Australia to offer robotic-assisted surgery. You can see this cutting-edge medical technology in action when Peter Mac appears in “Keeping Australia Alive”, a documentary series focussed on Australia’s healthcare system.

Watch our patient Peter as he undergoes robotic-assisted surgery for prostate cancer, with Peter Mac surgeon Associate Professor Declan Murphy at the controls of the da Vinci® S HD surgical system.

Episode 6 of the series - which was filmed in one day with 100 cameras sent to hospitals and healthcare facilities Australia-wide - is televised from 8.30pm on Tuesday, April 19 on ABC Television.

See a preview trailer for Episode 6 of “Keeping Australia Alive” below.

Robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® S HD surgical system was introduced at Peter Mac in 2010, thanks to generous philanthropic funding through the Peter Mac Foundation.

This state-of-the-art technology allows surgeons to perform complex surgery through keyhole incisions, thereby reducing morbidity and hospital stay when compared to conventional open surgery.

Although widely available in the private hospital sector across Australia, Peter Mac is one of the few public hospitals in Australia to offer robotic-assisted surgery. Peter Mac has an internationally-recognised robotic surgery program with many presentations, publications, and media contributions from our team of leading robotic surgeons.

Commonly referred to as a ‘robot’, the da Vinci® is a surgical tool which facilitates complex laparoscopic surgical procedures. It is not capable of independent movement but responds to the surgeon’s commands via an advanced remote-control system.

The surgeon sits at a console in the corner of the operating theatre, viewing live 3-D images of the patient’s inner organs. The robot is positioned over the patient, deploying its telescope and instruments deep inside the body.

Read a Nature article about Associate Professor Declan Murphy, who is Director of the Robotic Surgery Program at Peter Mac.

Using hand and foot controls, the surgeon manipulates the camera system and miniature instruments deep inside the patient’s body, allowing extremely precise and delicate surgery to be performed through tiny incisions.

Robotic surgery is reserved for complex procedures and therefore its most common applications are in cancer surgery.

The most commonly performed robotic surgery procedure worldwide is robotic assisted radical prostatectomy (robotic prostatectomy) and this is now the most popular surgical approach for men with localised prostate cancer in much of the Western world.

Open surgery for prostate cancer has steeply declined and robotic surgery is now the most popular approach for prostate cancer in Victoria. Peter Mac performs more radical prostatectomies than any other public hospital in Victoria.

Other procedures that can be performed using robotic assisted surgery include:

  • Removal of small kidney cancers
  • Surgery for colo-rectal cancer
  • Hysterectomy
  • Removal of the urinary bladder for bladder cancer
  • Head and neck cancer surgery (trans-oral robotic surgery)
  • Removal of tumours within the chest
  • Surgery for stomach and oesophageal cancers


Read more about Peter Mac’s robotic surgery program here.