Patients in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region suffering from a range of diseases and illnesses have embraced the less invasive, robotic assisted surgery at St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital since its launch in 2014.  In April, 2021 the Hospital marked its 1000th robotic assisted case, performed by Gynaecologist Dr Anthony Cerqui who undertook a robotic procedure for a Lockyer Valley patient.

The advanced surgical equipment is used for a wide variety of conditions including gynaecological problems, urology and ear nose and throat procedures along with hernia repair and weight loss surgery.

The Hospital’s Robotic Program has been leading the way since its beginnings in 2014.  St Andrew’s was the first hospital in regional Australia to install a Robotic Assisted Surgical System and as such have continued the “firsts” over the past seven years.  A number of key milestones along the way have been:

  • St Andrew’s was the first regional hospital to perform robotic-assisted surgery to treat prostate cancer in 2014 and we now have four Urologists, Drs Hi Wai Yap, Jacob Gleeson, Devang Desai and Wesley Hii who are highly skilled in radical prostatectomies and other robotic procedures;
  • Our ENT surgeons, Drs Suresh Mahendran and Dr Roger Grigg performed a World first robotic voice box procedure for a throat cancer patient;
  • The Hospital developed the first public/private partnership with Toowoomba Hospital for ENT robotic procedures to support public patient access the best care possible for complex procedures;
  • Most recently local Gynaecologist Dr Brendan Miller performed an Australian first robotic procedure to help Mum’s who have previously experienced miscarriages or premature births, carry their babies to full term;
  • Our Bariatric and General Surgeon, Dr Evan Willingham performed the first weight loss surgery and hernia repair for the Darling Downs region.

The Hospital continually invests in its Robotics Program, recently upgrading our robot to the latest available model on the market at a cost of $2.7 million for the new cutting edge technology.

Robotic surgery is minimally invasive and involves the use of a computer to control surgical instruments attached to robotic arms.  In the operating theatre, the Surgeon uses controls to move a camera and instruments which enables precise and delicate procedures with only small incisions.

The technology offers many advantages as it provides Surgeons with 3D vision in real time, wristed instruments that improves dexterity, and tremor canceling software that enables surgical precision.

Patient recovery following robotic surgery is also improved including less pain, blood loss and scarring with a shorter hospital stay and faster return to normal activities.

St Andrew’s Robotic Surgeons have been specially trained in the United States and Asia to enable them to undertake these advanced robotic-assisted cases.

This significant milestone in robotic surgery has, and continues to position, St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital at the forefront of technology in line with any metropolitan Hospital.