Utilizing Robots for Surgery Part 1: Robot Interest and Logistics

I recently decided that our practice should expand its horizons and think about using one of the available robots to perform certain types of surgeries. I thought this would make a great topic to blog about because not only would it serve the purpose of informing you as part of our Chrias community, but it would also allow other readers some access to information about robotic surgery, in general (http://www.davincisurgery.com). From asurgeons’ perspective, it’s all about whether a new approach is better for the patient. If it is a surgery that we already do well enough, then perhaps it’s best to not try and fix something that isn’t broken. But if there is an opportunity to improve the surgery for the patient, be it decreased time, better results, faster recovery time, then these are things we would want pursue. We want our patients to have a great and successful experiences.

Becoming a robotic surgeon is not a simple matter of purchasing the robot equipment and sitting down to practice. The equipment alone costs several million dollars and the hospital where the robotic equipment is stored needs to be specially outfitted to be robot compatible. Once a hospital commits to the utilization of robots for surgery it needs to look at what procedures are being done. If it is determined that the procedures can be performed more safely and with a better overall result using the robot, then it needs to begin the credentialing process for surgeons who show an interest in and who will perform those surgeries using the robot.

Robots are used for a variety of surgery types, in multiple areas of specialty including:
Gastric band
Gastric bypass
Hernia repairs
• Myotomy procedures
• Gall Bladder

My Initial Interest in Robots for Weight Loss Surgery

The inception of using robots for surgery, for me, started after completing a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery in 2004 at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. There was a DaVinci (http://www.davincisurgery.com/davinci-surgery/) robot available for use at the facility, but the institution I was training at had little demand for it from the general surgeons and it never became part of my curriculum. There were urologists and gynecologists working with it daily and I would watch them operate the robot, however, I never had the opportunity to perform any procedures using it during fellowship.

This was where the seed was planted. My interst was sparked because of those physicians who were using it…why were they using it? What advantages were to be gained by using it? Did it make the surgery easier, faster, better? Was the patient happier, or more satisfied?

Please stay tuned for further discussion on the topic of robots, and how they improve weight loss surgery results for our patients at Chrias. To learn more about weight loss surgery, contact us at 302-892-9900 or register for a free seminar using our website.

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