Brazilian surgeons used a multi-armed robot to repair a hole in a woman's heart in the first operation of its kind in Latin America, they told AFP Friday.
Robinson Poffo, one of the surgeons involved, said the procedure was performed on a 35-year-old patient this week at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.
"There was a hole between the right side and left side of the heart. We corrected this intracardiac defect by using the robot," he said.
The hi-tech assistant, a robot fitted with four arms able to carry out microscopic actions with precision, conducted the operation through three tiny incisions while doctors guided it with an endoscopic mini-camera inserted inside the anesthetized patient.
Poffo said the procedure avoided making a 25-centimeter (10-inch) cut in the chest of the patient, who was also able to leave hospital after three or four days instead of the usual 10 days.
The operation was unprecedented in Latin America, he said, though robot-assisted surgery has been carried out in the United States and Europe over the past decade.