A leading hospital in Ho Chi Minh City has performed a successful robot-assisted surgery to remove a patient’s brain tumor using the Modus V digital microscope, marking the first time the device was used in an operation in Asia.

The brain surgery was performed on Friday by doctors at the 115 General Hospital in District 10 with support from Prof. Amin Kassam, vice president of the U.S.-based Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute.

The neurosurgery was performed using Modus V, a fully-automated, hands-free, robotically-controlled digital microscope developed by Toronto-based Sypnaptive Medical Inc.

The robot is equipped with advanced visualization that supports a wide range of surgical approaches and workflows, according to its developer.

The Modus V digital microscope.

Dr. Nguyen Van Bau, director of the 115 General Hospital, said the hospital had prepared for the historic surgery for years by sending medical experts abroad to be trained on operating the complex surgical robot.

“The successful operation is a stepping stone for the hospital to continue performing more complex neurosurgeries [using robots],” Dr. Bau said.

The patient was a 67-year-old woman from the southern province of Tay Ninh who was hospitalized with migraine, difficulty articulating, and weakened right limbs.

She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was fit to undergo the first robotically assisted brain surgery performed at the hospital.

The operation lasted for one and a half hours, much shorter than the normal four-hour surgery without the assistance of the surgical robot.

“We had had a chance to operate the robot on real human bodies [during our training] in the U.S. and Switzerland], so we are confident with the technique,” said Dr. Chu Tan Si, the lead surgeon.

The patient survived the operation with almost no damage done to adjacent brain structures and is recovering well, doctors say.

According to Dr. Amin Kassam, the Modus V robot has been used in neurosurgical operations in the U.S and Canada since 2015.

The 115 General Hospital is the first medical institution in Vietnam and Asia to successfully operate the robot in an actual neurosurgery, he said.

The Ho Chi Minh City hospital reportedly invested VND54 billion (US$2.3 million) in the robotic system and will hand out free operations to the first ten patients to undergo robot-assisted neurosurgeries.