October 12, 2011

More physicians practicing at CAMC are using the da Vinci surgical robot for more procedures than at any other hospital in West Virginia.

At least 11 physicians are performing a variety of urological, gynecological and general surgical procedures with the help of this cutting-edge surgical technology. More physicians in other specialties are in the process of being trained and credentialed.

Three surgeons practicing at CAMC are considered proctors by Intuitive Surgical and four have performed more than 100 cases.

"The program is rapidly expanding as more patients hear about their family and friends' experiences with the robot-assisted surgery," said Stephen H. Bush, MD, associate professor and chairman, department of obstetrics and gynecology, West Virginia University-Charleston Division. "The patients stay overnight, although it is possible to send some home on the same day as surgery."

The da Vinci robot virtually extends the surgeon's eyes and hands into the surgical field. It offers improved viewing resolution, clarity and detail of tissue planes and critical anatomy while providing surgeons with improved precision, dexterity and control.

"The da Vinci robot mainly reduces recovery time in half," said Gina Busch, MD. "The pain and blood loss are significantly reduced from conventional surgery including less than other minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries. Patients should know that robot-assisted procedures mean decreased pain, decreased blood loss, faster recovery, smaller incisions and fewer postoperative complications."

Connie Marano, clinical management coordinator, 2 West Memorial, called it the simplest surgery she's ever

"I felt so good that it was hard to believe I just had a major surgery," Marano said. "I had surgery on a Thursday. Friday morning I walked down the hall and made some coffee. On Sunday I went to church."

Physicians say one of the advantages is the visualization and magnification available. Blood vessels and dissection planes are easily identified, which reduces the risk of injury to other structures. The ease of stitching and tying knots is also an advantage over traditional laparoscopy.

"General surgery covers the body from head to toe. We perform many different operations for many different diseases, and the robot is well designed to operate on many different conditions," said Edward Tiley, III, MD. "As surgeons gain experience, the robot is being used to assist in even more operations."

CAMC is taking robot-assisted surgery to the next level with its latest purchase: a new da Vinci robot model that includes a teaching console (with controls for the resident as well as the attending physician). CAMC will also receive a robot simulator for the simulation center.

"This recent purchase brings the most sophisticated robotic instrument available," said J.P. Tierney, DO. "Teaching instruments to train the surgeons of the future will be an additional element to the program. CAMC and the surgeons practicing here are on the leading edge of surgical techniques."

"As a training hospital, our residents have a great interest in learning this skill," Tiley added. "Robotics is growing for educational purposes in addition to patient usages."

Learn more about the da Vinci surgical system at CAMC:

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