Robotic Surgeon Takes Residence at Hospital

Overshadowed during five years at Marshfield, the class of 2017 is refusing to let their senior year fall short of greatness. The “golden class” of 2016 continuously clouded over this year’s seniors. Due to their rigor in sports and academics, as well as being the first group of eighth graders at Marshfield, even now the class of 2017 feels the underlying expectations the class before them held.

Already however, steps have been made by the seniors to join together in certain activities that allow the class to get to know each other better.

Located in Sunnyvale, California is Intuitive Surgical, a company providing technology which offers minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery. Among the different machines within the corporation, is the da Vinci Si Surgical System. It is the latest addition in the da Vinci product line.

Four months ago, Bay Area Hospital purchased the da Vinci Si. To start, four surgeons were given training to start using the product and then more were given the opportunity to use it. Dr. Groth, a gynecologist at Bay Clinic, has been acquiring training and performed his first surgery using the machine on March 5.

“As a gynecologist I will perform hysterectomies, ovarian surgery and more,” Groth said.

The hospital looked at the robots seven years ago, and Groth was impressed but did not see much use with it in his specialty. Now that time has gone by, he said he sees it differently.

“When they brought it back I could see great benefits to it in gynecology,” Groth said. “We can now perform more advanced surgeries than what we could before.”

The machine allows the surgeon to perform while not coming in contact with the patient. The doctor is able to use a joystick to control the device and a footswitch panel that enables them to change between different instruments. It also has a 3D HD camera which allows the doctors to receive a clearer view into the incision on a touchscreen with telestration capabilities or the ability to project the image to many devices.

Registered nurse David Geist is a robotic clinical coordinator and said there are many benefits to using these machines.

“The robot is used to enhance the surgeon’s capabilities by enabling them to get into areas that were previously inhibited,” Geist said.

According to Geist, the incision size is another advantage.  A surgery might normally take around 10 centimeters in length, whereas the da Vinci Si only uses around a one to two centimeter incision. Furthermore, recovery time is reduced. Because of this, the cost of the surgery is around $4,000 less for the patient. According to the Intuitive Surgical website, the da Vinci is engineered to achieve optimal case preparation and turnaround times for the patients. The device also gives auditory and visual alerts to ensure the surgeons are constantly aware of the system status and functions.

The da Vinci systems have been installed into more than 2,025 hospital sites around the world and, according to Intuitive Surgical, have been increasing in production rates since 1999.

Just like any surgery there is a risk of complications based upon the severity of the case and the surgery being performed. Along with general risks, the surgeon is not working directly with the patient and is depending on the functioning of the robotic system. However, Geist believes the da Vinci is a positive addition to the hospital.

“There are definite benefits to using the da Vinci, not in every case, but overall,” Geist said. “It’s amazing new technology.”