Technological advances in health care continue to push the limits of what we can accomplish in providing the best possible care for our patients and their overall well-being. To further advance the whole-health care we offer, we’ve recently acquired the new da Vinci® Xi robotic-assisted surgery system to reduce time in surgery, time in the hospital, and time recovering. To learn more, we spoke with our own board-certified general surgeon, Thomas K. Mahan, MD, about this exciting new technology and how it benefits our patients.
What is Robotic-Assisted Surgery?
“Robotic-assisted surgery is the next evolution of modern surgical practices,” says Dr. Mahan. “For 20 or so years we’ve relied on laparoscopic surgery for minimally invasive surgeries, which was an amazing breakthrough and a leap in surgical technology that effectively did away with the need for open surgeries in many instances. Today, however, that technology has been left behind by the new age of robots.”
Laparoscopies only provide surgeons with a 2D view of the surgery and weren’t designed to be ergonomically friendly to the doctor performing the surgery. With the new da Vinci Xi, doctors can see the surgery in 3D as well as sit in a comfortable position allowing them to take their time and not get fatigued.
In a robotic-assisted surgery, your surgeon is still your surgeon, the da Vinci doesn’t have a mind of its own or a medical degree. The da Vinci Xi system has four articulated robotic arms that can be fit with the different instruments that the surgeon will need to perform the surgery. The doctor then sits in the control booth console and proceeds to operate as normal, but is now assisted by four arms capable of maneuvers impossible for a human arm and hand to perform.
Benefits of the da Vinci Xi Assisted Surgery
“The time in surgery is about the same as with a laparoscopy, but with complex abdominal procedures such as a gastric bypass, the time in surgery is often considerably less due to the mechanical advantages of the da Vinci Xi,” explains Dr. Mahan. “The real time savings come in when we’re talking about recovery time. Traditionally, an esophageal cancer surgery would require two weeks recovery time in hospital, but with this new system, that is cut down to just one week which could save the patient tens of thousands of dollars.”
There are many advantages to a minimally invasive surgery performed by a surgeon using the da Vinci Xi when compared to laparoscopy or open surgery. Here are just a few:
- Less trauma to your body
- Less pain due to smaller incisions
- Less chance of infection
- Faster healing
Is Robotic Assisted Surgery Right for Me?
All our surgeons that operate the da Vinci Xi have spent months training for certification and have logged countless hours practicing and honing their skills. “I’ve been using the da Vinci systems since 2013 and have performed more than 700 procedures in that time. I easily have over 1000 hours working with the system and am as comfortable with it as if I were using my own hands,” says Dr. Mahan.