Robot invades Naperville -- Edward introduces da Vinci Surgical System.
From The Naperville Sun:
A penny for your thoughts on robotic surgery
August 15, 2010
By TIM WEST
A robot and I performed surgery Thursday.
What's more, we did it in the lobby of the Edward Heart Hospital, with a photographer snapping away and people watching.
Fortunately, I was the only person involved, and the "patient" was a penny and some rings inside a small circle with peaks that, under magnification, looked like the hills of some faraway planet.
The occasion was a hands-on demonstration of the da Vinci Si Surgical System, a robot-type device that helps surgeons perform laparoscopic procedures such as prostate surgery for men and hysterectomies for women.
The doctor's part of the system has the kind of magnifying goggles one encounters in an eye exam - where you lean up against the glasses to see in front of you. There is 10 times magnification to make the body parts easier to see.
The da Vinci has arms controlled by the surgeon that have various uses related to the ports that go into the patient. The doctor controls the arms and a camera that moves around for different views.
There is also a monitor so others in the operating room can see what the doctor can see and is doing.
Edward has been using the da Vinci since July, but Dr. Mark Fisher, a urologist with the DuPage Medical Group, who relocated here after several years in Texas, has been using the various versions of the device for years.
Fisher was at the demonstration Thursday, along with Pete, one of his patients on whom he had performed a prostatectomy, an operation to remove a cancerous prostate, just a couple of weeks ago.
The operation, which would normally mandate a hospitalization of at least four days, requires only one when done laparoscopically with the da Vinci.
Moreover, recovery time is shorter, Pete needed only a couple of weeks at home, instead of the usual six or eight, and planned to return to work Monday.
Another advantage of the da Vinci for the patient is that he or she will have only five small holes instead of a lengthy scar. There is also less loss of blood and trauma to body organs.
When I talked to Pete, he looked remarkably hale and hearty for someone a couple of weeks out of major surgery.
The da Vinci is also kind on the surgeon, because he or she can sit through the procedure, and the machine has various adjustments to allow for a comfortable position.
Moreover, da Vinci lessens hand tremor, which you really don't want a surgeon to have.
When I watched Fisher demonstrate the delicate operation of tying a suture, I was amazed at what could be done with the da Vinci in the hands of a skilled surgeon.
When I tried the machine, I managed not to drop the penny, but that was about it. If I had tried a suture, I probably would have wrapped it around one of da Vinci's mechanical arms.
Depending on the type of surgery a given doctor does - and the da Vinci is not suited to every type of operation - training on the device takes from six months to a year.
More surgeons are being trained all the time.
Right now, Edward has one da Vinci, but more will probably come in the future.
When I asked Fisher how well people were responding to the prospect of having robotic arms involved in their surgical procedures, he said that about 90 percent of the prostate operations he did were with the da Vinci.
If you ever need to have an operation at Edward that can be done with the da Vinci, rest assured that there will be a very competent surgeon at one end of the system.
On the other hand, if you need a penny removed from your innards, I'm just the guy to do it.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services