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Interview with Dr. Sandeep Nayak

Interview with Dr. Sandeep Nayak

He completed his M.B.B.S from Kasturba Medical College. He pursued his Master's in General Surgery from Raj Medical College. Then he pursued his surgical oncology from Chittaranjan Cancer National Institute in Kolkata. He even has a fellowship in laparoscopy and robotics oncosurgery. And he has also been a part of numerous publications. He is an awardee for many aconites. He has been in this career for 20 years.

The Story behind Opting Surgical Oncology

There were just a few options and medicine was something he opted for. After taking medicine, he realized that he is more into art and for him, surgery is also a form of art. He was inclined to take surgery and he took it. When he went ahead with the surgery he realized that oncology enhanced surgical skills. That is why he took surgical oncology. 

How are conventional surgeries, robotic surgeries, and laparoscopic surgeries different from each other?

In conventional surgeries, doctors expose the area and remove the area which was affected by cancer. To minimize this treatment laparoscopy came into existence. 

Laparoscopic surgery came into existence in the 1980s and with the technological growth, it came into oncology too. This is when the concept of doing bigger surgeries with smaller roots came into existence. Most of the surgeries can be done with laparoscopy but there are some problems with it. Some areas in the body are narrow like they have smaller space or areas which are complex. Laparoscopy cannot be performed in such areas as the instrument is straight. This is where things started changing and robotic surgery came into existence. Robotic surgery is nothing but the advanced version of laparoscopic surgery. Robotic surgery came to overcome the problems which were not effective through laparoscopy. 

How do you manage with patients who are reluctant to go for the treatment? 

He never convinces the patient to go for a particular treatment. It's all on the patient. He just suggests the patient. Mostly the patient comes to him for laparoscopy and robotics. He guides them for the treatment and whatever is right for them.

What are the indications for Robotic and laparoscopic surgery? 

In simple words, anything that can be done with open surgery can be done with laparoscopic and robotic surgery. For example- if there is a tumor in the abdominal part the doctor is removing the tumor, it's open surgery. There is no need for robotics. 

For the tumor which is associated deeper in the body like the intestine, stomach, lungs, neck, and thyroid laparoscopic surgeries can be done. Robotic surgery can be effective for throat cancers called Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS). 

How does Minimally Invasive Neck dissection differ from Conventional Head and Neck Surgery? 

Conventional Head and Neck surgery- Most head and neck surgery requires the removal of lymph nodes. After this, it creates a big wound in front of the neck. 

Minimally Invasive Neck dissection

In this, the doctor put small holes just below the collarbone. They then remove everything from the neck through the small holes and do the surgery. Surgery is the same as open surgery only difference is the wound would not be there. Recovery is also faster. This could be done with the routine as well as the robotic instruments. 

Rabbit technique 

Thyroid cancer is something that generally affects the younger generation rather than adults or older people. No children would like a scar on their neck for the rest of their life after the surgery. This is why Rabbit and Robotic techniques are used. In this, we put very small injections over or below the armpit and remove the whole thyroid. The technique is effective. 

We have heard about the relapse of cancer. So does laparoscopic surgery reduce the chances of relapse or is there a correlation between both the surgeries? 

There is no correlation between both. But researches have shown that the Minimal invasive technique is more superior to conventional surgeries. But in terms of cancer, the two are supposed to be equal and that is why it is done. 

About the relapse of cancer,

  • Firstly, it depends on how aggressive the cancer is. Every Cancer is different.
  • Secondly, it is how well the patient is fighting Cancer. 
  • The third is the treatment factor. It means the quality of chemo and radiation of the patient. 

Sometimes the surgery takes 12 hours or even more. Has this advanced technique cut down the time? 

Yes. There are many factors. The most important factor is the improvement in technology. These techniques have reduced the operating time. But these techniques may not reduce the time in the initial time. For example anesthesia. When it arrived for the first time it did help in reducing the time but now in today's time, the speed is not that matters, quality is important.

A message for the budding oncologist or students

One important thing is, to be honest, and to be ethical in what you do. These are very important in today's time. 

Treat the person like you would treat yourself or your family members if you were in their situation. Just don't jump through shortcuts, instead, climb each step. This is why I am successful.

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