(ABC4 Utah) Robotics has transformed the field of surgery and offers several benefits for patients and surgeons.  

Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that allows surgeons to operate in relatively less accessible areas of the body and with a magnified view of the surgical field, providing maximum dexterity. 

“Robotic surgery allows for more surgeries to be done in a minimally invasive way,” said Bryce Haac, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon with Intermountain Healthcare, who is based at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. “It’s state-of-the-art technology that’s a game changer – improving patient experiences and ensuring good clinical outcomes.” 

Although robotic surgeries are not new, Intermountain Healthcare has recently launched the da Vinci XI- robotic assisted surgical system at four community hospitals (Alta View, American Fork, Layton, and Riverton) for gynecologic, urologic, thoracic, cardiac, and general surgical procedures. Intermountain now has 14 robots throughout the system. 

How Does Robotic Surgery Work? 

Though despite the term “robotic,” robots do not perform the surgeries. A surgeon performs the procedures using instruments that are guided via a fiber linked console. 

The surgeon makes small incisions on the patient’s abdominal area for placing ports for the camera and robotic arms. Once the robot is docked, the instruments are guided carefully into the surgical field. 

The surgeon sits at a master console in the operating room. Using a real-time magnified HD-3D view of the operative field, the surgeon’s hand movements are precisely replicated by the robotic instruments in the surgical field. 

“With the precision-centric approach of robotics, radical procedures can be performed with the preservation of nerves, arteries, and other critical structures without compromising treatment outcomes,” said Dr. Haac. 

The robot is also beneficial for the surgeons, as it re-establishes good hand-eye coordination, provides better ergonomics, and makes instrument operation more natural than laparoscopic procedures. 

Other kinds of minimally invasive operations have been done for decades, such as laparoscopic surgery to remove a gallbladder, where doctors use small incisions and directly control long-handled instruments and a fiber optic camera. 

“However, there’s much greater dexterity with a robotic system than with conventional laparoscopic instruments,” said Dr. Haac. “This makes it possible to do more challenging and complex operations, but still minimally invasive.” 

Advantages of Robotic Surgery for the Patient 

“After surgery patients typically have a shorter hospital stay, recovery time, and get home quicker to be with their families and return to normal activities,” said Dr. Haac.  

Other advantages for patients: 

  • Shorter hospitalization 
  • Reduced pain and discomfort 
  • Faster recovery time and return to normal activities 
  • Smaller incisions, resulting in reduced risk of infection 
  • Reduced blood loss and need for transfusions 
  • Minimal scarring 
  • Fewer opioids required 

Click here for more information, and talk to your surgeon to see if your procedure is done robotically. 

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