Robotic Colorectal Surgery Advancements at AdventHealth Kissimmee

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Advancing medicine using the most innovative surgical procedures is at the heart of AdventHealth's surgical programs, and as of January 2020, many types of procedures, including colorectal surgeries, can now be done robotically at AdventHealth Kissimmee. 

Da Vinci Xi® is a versatile and flexible robot at the forefront of surgical technology, and while not every case is eligible for this minimally invasive surgery technique, many colorectal surgeries once performed the old-fashioned way, with open incisions requiring lengthy recovery time and considerable pain, can now be done using minimally invasive robotic procedures

Robotic-assisted surgery allows for smaller incisions and results in lower side effects, reduced healing time, less scarring, and faster returns to normal activity. 

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Colorectal procedures, including colon resection, rectal resection and rectopexy, can be treated with procedures performed using the da Vinci surgical system. Since January, Jeremy Drake, MD, has primarily treated colon and rectal cancer, diverticular disease, pelvic floor issues (including rectal prolapse), and other conditions through robotic surgery at AdventHealth Kissimmee. 

“Once we’ve determined that surgery is the best option for a patient, they first usually meet with our nurses to discuss the surgery process and outline what they need to know as far as pain control, diet expectations, activity limitations, etc.,” Dr. Drake explains. 

When surgery day comes, the robotic procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes for a pelvic floor condition to 2–4 hours for a cancer patient’s surgery. “I always share with patients that most incisions I need to do will be less than 1 cm in size, unless I need to remove the colon. That will be closer to 3–4 cm in size,” says Dr. Drake. 

With robotic-assisted surgery, the surgeon controls tiny utensils via a console. Because the size of the utensils is so small, incisions that may have previously needed to be large enough for a hand now only need to be a few centimeters at most. 

Once the surgery is complete, depending on the type of condition that’s being treated, patients will stay in the hospital for anywhere from 2–4 days. 

Advantages for Patient and Surgeon 

During a robotic surgery, a surgeon inserts a thin scope with a tiny camera through a few small incisions in the operating area. The surgery can be completed with the use of instruments that allow the surgeon to manipulate the organs that otherwise would require large incisions. 

Because the incisions are smaller than with an open surgery, this procedure often requires a shorter recovery time, shorter hospital stays, faster return to work, less pain and lower chances of wound infections. 

“Minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgery, are far superior to open surgeries when it comes to pain control, length of recovery, wound infection rates, etc.,” says Dr. Drake. 

Overall, patients who undergo robotic surgery benefit through:

  • Faster recovery
  • Less blood loss and fewer blood transfusions
  • Less pain and reduced use of pain medication
  • Lower risk of infections and complications
  • Quicker return to normal daily routines
  • Reduced scarring 
  • Shorter hospital stay

And while there are many reasons for a patient to opt for robotic surgery, there are also benefits from the surgeon’s perspective, Dr. Drake shares. “For surgeons, robotic surgery allows us to be more precise, which leads to less blood loss and less likelihood of needing to convert to an open surgery.” 

“We have better visualization, since we have a 3D view of our operating area, and the other big advantage — aside from being able to get into smaller spaces — is the ease of dissection because of the view and utensil size.” 

Learn More About Advanced Colorectal Procedures

At AdventHealth, robotic surgery is revolutionizing complex colorectal procedures. The robot technology allows surgeons better visualization and precision, while the instruments are driven by the surgeon who is present in the operating room during the procedure.

Minimally invasive techniques make it possible to address the wellbeing of the whole patient. It's not enough to perform a procedure — patient's comfortable recovery and return to health is an essential part of the surgical plan. AdventHealth Kissimmee's esteemed surgical experts blend world-class surgical technology with leading-edge care and award-winning hospitals. To learn more, click here

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