Robotic Surgery’s Next Wave
New Technology Offers Many Benefits
Patients weighing robotic approaches to surgery will find expanded options at St. Francis Hospital. Last year the Hospital acquired the da Vinci Si robotic surgical system, a refined robot that provides high-definition, 3-D vision with up to 10 times magnification, and Intuitive Motion Technology. The new technology promises reduced discomfort for patients and shorter hospital stays.
Today surgeons such as Gary Gecelter, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Surgery, George DeNoto, M.D., Director of General Surgery, and Felix L. Badillo, M.D., Director of Urology, are taking advantage of the increased dexterity robotics offers during minimally invasive surgical procedures in treating pancreatic, kidney, adrenal, bladder, and prostate cancers.
“With the da Vinci Si our ability to perform complex robotic suturing of internal organs has allowed us to expand this minimally invasive platform into pancreatic and esophageal cancer surgery,” says Dr. Gecelter. “This enhances patient recovery and helps ensure that they return to normal life as quickly as possible.” Dr. DeNoto agrees. “Also, the surgeon sits in a very comfortable position throughout the surgical procedure. I believe that if a surgeon can see better, use the instruments better, and is more comfortable while performing the surgery, the patient will benefit as well.”
Other procedures that the da Vinci will be able to assist in will include robotic single incision colon surgery, paraesophageal hiatal hernia repair, Nissen fundoplication, Heller myotomy, and cholecystectomy. Robotic surgery also provides an advantage in cancer control. The reduction in blood loss provides a clearer field for the surgeon. “I looked at my own data, and I can see the benefits,” Dr. Badillo says. He estimates that today about 95 percent of U.S. hospitals have acquired robotic surgical equipment. However, only about 2 percent of hospitals across the country had the technology nearly 7 years ago when St. Francis started its program, making it one of the most experienced in the region.