KBC Zagreb: Robot Performs Over 400 Surgeries

Katarina Anđelković

KBC Zagreb: illustrative surgery image

June 5, 2023 – The Croatian National Robotic Centre performed more than 400 precise surgeries to remove prostate cancer, a KBC Zagreb statement reveals. This is the only healthcare facility in Croatia performing urological surgeries using a robotic platform.

“It is a minimally invasive type of procedure without a classic surgical incision with minimal blood loss,” said the head of the Urology Clinic, Željko Kaštelan, during the presentation of the robot’s work last week at KBC Zagreb, as written by Index.

Kaštelan emphasizes the high precision of the robotic system in removing the prostate along with the tumour. However, the robot does not work alone; the surgeon controls it, assisted by the entire multidisciplinary team.

The robot allows the urologist to spare important structures in the pelvis during surgery, such as the neurovascular bundle responsible for erection and the system responsible for continence. As a result, the patient recovers faster and returns to normal life.

At Rebro, they perform up to two radical prostatectomy surgeries per day using the robotic system.

Younger doctors who wanted to use the new technology are working on the robot, and as a result they have turned their experience into numerous published professional articles, KBC says.

Prostate cancer patients with localized tumours are the candidates for this surgery. “Over time, we’ll push the boundaries, so that we operate on ever-larger prostates and larger cancers. Day by day, we’re moving in that direction,” Kaštelan points out.

As an advantage of the new technology, he singles out the fantastic visualization “so that you can see every, even the smallest structure that needs saving”. The organ, together with the tumour, can be removed very precisely.

The National Robotics Center started working at KBC Zagreb four years ago. The robot cost about HRK 15 million, and EU funds were provided for its purchase.

KBC Zagreb Director: The 415th robot surgery performed on Friday

The director of KBC Zagreb, Ante Ćorušić, pointed out that the robotic platform was installed with the help of former minister Milan Kujundžić and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. They realized the need to introduce robotic surgery in the zero-category hospital and the largest health facility in Croatia.

“We must have the possibility of robotic surgery for the sake of the younger generations. This will one day be the standard in most hospitals in Croatia and Europe,” Ćorušić pointed out.

He praised the entire team of the Clinic for Urology, led by Željko Kaštelan, who managed to bring the robotic platform into full operation very quickly.

“The 415th robot operation was performed on Friday, that figure speaks for itself,” Ćorušić pointed out.

In addition to urological surgeries, the robot at KBC Zagreb performed several gynaecological surgeries. This, they say, demonstrates the breadth and possibilities of this platform for all surgical disciplines. This kind of robotic system currently exists in Croatia only in KBC Zagreb. Kaštelan points out he is happy with the announcement that Croatia will acquire more robotic systems.

On Friday urologist Tvrtko Hudolina, performed the 415th prostate surgery using the robot. “The surgery lasted an hour and a half, it went well, and the patient feels well,” Hudolin stated.

“Prostate surgery has functional consequences, after which patients may have problems with urination and potency. With finer technology, you can see these structures better, which allows you to preserve them. This increasingly ensures that negative side effects are minimal or non-existent”, Hudolin pointed out.


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