2022 KS International Robotic Surgery Innovation Awards

The Vattikuti Foundation Has Presented Top Honors for Surgeons from the USA, India and Europe for the 2022 KS International Robotic Surgery Innovation Awards

Date : September 2022

Robotic surgeons from the US, India and Spain were named the top 3 winners in the KS International Robotic Surgery Innovation Awards, a competition sponsored by the Vattikuti Foundation.

The top three Winners were chosen from 100 global entries from the specialties of Urology, Gynaecology, General Surgery, Hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery, Colorectal, Head & Neck, Paediatric, Cardiothoracic, and Orthopedic (joint replacement) surgeries. Participants using new robotic surgical platforms were also considered.

Dr. Jihad Kaouk, Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA earned the First-Place prize for: ‘Single Port Robot-Assisted Kidney Transplantation Extraperitoneal Approach.’ In this innovation, Dr. Kaouk and his team modified the technique of robotic kidney transplant developed at the Vattikuti Urology Institute and Medanta Medicity. Kaouk used a da Vinci single port robot for truly minimally invasive surgery. The early results of the patients who had undergone robotic kidney transplant through this technique are encouraging. The study revealed that they could be released to go home in only 2 days. This technique transforms a major surgery into almost an outpatient procedure, rather than one requiring a traditional lengthy hospitalization and recovery period.

The Second-Place award went to Dr Sandeep Nayak, Director, Surgical Oncology, Fortis Cancer Institute, Bengaluru, for ‘Robotic Infraclavicular Approach for Minimally Invasive Neck Dissection.’ In his video, Dr. Nayak innovated a robotic technique to perform very major cancer surgery of the head and neck to clear the lymph nodes in the neck, yielding quick patient recovery and minimal discomfort.

A collaborative European team won the Third-Place award. Dr. Alberto Piana, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, University of Turin, Italy; Dr. Paolo Verri, and Alberto Breda of Oncology Urology and Kidney Transplant Surgery, Fundació Puigvert, Barcelona, Spain, won for their entry of ‘3-D Augmented Reality Guided Robotic Assisted Kidney Transplantation’. This novel technique was used to select the proper location for attaching the donor kidney artery to the recipient artery during robotic kidney transplant to avoid atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessel. This application was assisted in part by utilizing artificial intelligence-based algorithms.

Mr. Raj Vattikuti, President of the Vattikuti Foundation, a respected Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, described to the online audience some of the efforts of the Foundation he and his wife Padma founded. Their efforts began with the first robotic surgery at the Vattikuti Urology Institute,Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, USA in the early 2000s for treating prostate cancer (thanks to the leadership of Dr. Mani Menon). Today, surgeons and Vattikuti Fellows, now all over the world- continue to set new standards for minimally-invasive surgery.

With Foundation support, Menon’s pioneering team worked with other surgeons and the robot manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical, to expand the number of surgical specialties for all kinds of cancers. “The procedures developed all over the world are making a remarkable difference and impact on the patients,” said Mr. Vattikuti, adding that he was “proud” to be part of this journey.

Paying a tribute to Late Shri Krishnaswami Subramanian, “KS”, Mr. Vattikuti said, “What KS accomplished is unbelievable, as he learned everything he could about robotic surgery, including knowledge of technology and surgery. He did a remarkable job of spreading this across India. I'm really thankful to KS for what he achieved. This global video contest, named in his memory, will keep his legacy alive.

The innovative prize-winning kidney transplant technique showcased is an improvement, building on the technique developed by the Vattikuti Urology Institute. For most of the major surgeries done in India, surgeons have taken robotic surgery to the next level, making it as simple as an outpatient procedure in contrast to an open surgery.

As surgeons continue to innovate newer procedures in robotic surgery, the Vattikuti Foundation will continue to invest and make it accessible to other surgeons,” said Mr. Vattikuti. He is co-author of two newly-published books: 'Digital Leader’ and ‘Digital Simplified,’ along with Professor Ram Charan.

The eminent international jury panel made was up of Dr. David Neal, Professor of Surgical Oncology, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at Oxford University, UK; Dr. Sherry M Wren, Vice Chair and Professor of Surgery, Stanford University, USA and Dr. Rajeev Kumar, Professor of Urology and Associate Dean, AIIMS, New Delhi. They announced the top 3 awardees during a global webinar, where the Winners’ submissions were showcased. A short interaction between the awardees and the jury members followed.

Surgeons from about two dozen countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas witnessed the virtual KS Awards 2022 webinar event hosted by the Vattikuti Foundation on September 10th.

This was the first time that the KS Awards went global. 48-per cent of submissions were from India, 20-per cent from Italy and 10-per cent were from the United States. The videos that met the submission criteria were seen by over 12,000 viewers. The video entries were then distributed to a panel of 20 expert robotic surgeons from the United States, Europe, Nepal and India. The next level of voting came from a public crowd-voting poll with 2,000 entries.

Dr Mahendra Bhandari, CEO, Vattikuti Foundation and Director of Research at Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, said, “The Vattikuti Foundation is encouraged by the overwhelming response to this contest. He seconded jury member Dr Rajeev Kumar’s view that “All entries were worthy of winning.” The Vattikuti Foundation is endeavoring to host a full day academic session entitled “Humans at the cutting edge of robotic surgery,” in Miami, USA in mid-November 2022 where 20 highly-rated entries will be presented by for a critical review by the experts in the field. The top 3 winners will be handed over the prize money in the “Vattikuti KS Awards Ceremony 2022.”

The Foundation's charter is to encourage excellence in robotic surgery by facilitating specialist surgeons to be trained to become accomplished robotic surgeons. Additionally, the Vattikuti Foundation provides access to a reservoir of digital training resources, conducts international seminars and live webinars of surgical sessions.

Thanks in part to the Foundation’s early developmental support, Robotic Surgery now brings precision in many surgical procedures, which in turn adds tremendous value to patients requiring delicate surgeries throughout the body, especially where soft tissue and tumors are involved. Recognized benefits of robotic surgery include lower blood loss, less scarring, expedited patient recovery and improved patient outcomes. Hospitals also benefit by making hospital beds available to other needy patients, thanks to faster release times for robotic surgery patients.

The Detroit-based Foundation has so far awarded one-year Vattikuti Fellowships to over 100 specialist surgeons with post-graduate qualifications in surgery. These Vattikuti Fellows are in training for one year, working to master robotic surgery under the mentorship of an experienced surgeon in a hospital as part of this fully-paid Fellowship.