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Dr. N P Gupta: 400 Robotic Surgeries & Counting

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Dr. N.P. Gupta who is Chairman, Academics and Research Division at Medanta- Kidney and Urology Institute, is acclaimed for his excellent work in the field of robotic radical prostatectomy. He has nearly 42 years of experience in Urology both at National and International Level.

He has received several National and International Awards including the  Padamshree (2007) and the Dr. B. C. Roy National Award (2005). He has published over 350 articles and papers in various national and international journals. He has written six books on Urology; has contributed chapters in nine books, produced 18 teaching video films and trained over 110 M.Ch. and Post Graduates.

Dr Gupta has performed more than 20,000 operations for various urological disorders. He is a pioneer and renowned surgeon who started robotic surgery in Urology in the year 2006 at AIIMS. He has performed the most number of robotic surgeries in India in his specialty. In an exclusive interview with BS Rawat, Dr Gupta shares his experiences and his plans to take robotic radical prostatectomy forward. Excerpts:

Drug Today Medical Times: Please share your thoughts about your journey so far.

Dr. N.P. Gupta: My journey of 42 years in medicine has been very interesting. I started from a small town -- Jabalpur -- where I did MBBS and MS in Surgery. I joined the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in 1975 and never looked back since then.

DTMT: What influenced you to select urology as your specialty?

DNPG: In 1975, I decided to join urology because of scope of endoscopic surgery without making big incisions in the body. Urology, at that time, was a growing specialty and there was scope for technological advances, which I have seen in my lifetime.

DTMT: Why would an average 25-year-old guy visit a urologist?

DNPG: A 25- year -old guy visits a urologist for any urinary symptoms or anxiety for his sexual performance.

DTMT: What is the future for the wet lab programme you have introduced recently?

DNPG: When we were students, we learnt surgery directly on humans. During learning, patient can be harmed by wrong judgment and decisions. Wet lab training is an interface between dry lab training and humans. We practice art of surgery on animal parts in wet lab training process.  

DTMT: Till date, how many robotic radical prostatectomy surgeries have been conducted by you? What are the challenges you are facing for this big task?

DNPG: I have done more than 400 Robotic Radical prostatectomy surgeries during the last year in AIIMS and Medanta – The Medicity. Robotic instrument is an interface between patient and surgeon. Robotic instrument helps in transmitting surgeons' hand movement through robotic instrument inside the body. In every step of Robotic radical prostatectomy, surgeon’s decision is very important. Each patient may present with different kind of tumor which can be challenging for the surgery. For every patient, surgery is tailor made according to the patient and disease factor.    

DTMT: Are children subject to urological problems and what causes them?

DNPG: Children are born with congenital urological problems like Ureteropelvic junction obstructions, Ureteric obstruction / reflux. Posterior urethral valve, Hypospadius and  Undescended testis. They can present just after birth or at any time in their life.  

DTMT: How many times a day is it normal for a healthy person to urinate? What type of advice would you give him?

DNPG: Normally, a healthy person urinates less than 8 times in 24 hours. 4-5 times during day and 1-2 times during the night. If someone is passing more times than this, he should consult a doctor.

DTMT: According to you, what lifestyle change could most benefit our health?

DNPG: One should drink 3-4 litres of fluids every day including fruit juices, coconut water and barley water. Avoid eating junk food and high sodium content diet. Daily exercise, yoga, pranayam keeps one healthy.

DTMT: What is the secret behind your success?

DNPG: Dedication to the profession and honesty to the patient is important for success. One should explain to the patient all the treatment options available, discuss both benefits and harms of every treatment and patient should be involved in decision making in his/her treatment.

DTMT: Any event/incident in your life, which has influenced you most?

DNPG: The most important event in my life was to start Robotic Surgery in urology in the year 2006. I have seen the growth and development of Robotic Surgery, which has influenced our approach to minimal invasive surgery. I am happy to mention that most of the urologic surgeries are done endoscopically / robotically.

DTMT: What do you enjoy most about your work?

DNPG: I enjoy the respect given to me by my patients while I am treating them, and also after that for many years. They send me greetings and gratitude, which is a big treasure of my life.

DTMT: How do you balance between your work and family?

DNPG: I work from 8 am to 7 pm and after that I spend my time with my family.

DTMT: What else would you tell medical students who are considering Urology?

DNPG: My advice to medical students is that they should be dedicated to patient care if they have decided to become a doctor. They should not differentiate between patients on the basis of their status, caste, religion and should treat everyone equally.

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