June 14, 2012

da Vinci Surgical System simulatorBefore surgeons practicing at CAMC begin to care for patients, they have already practiced using a state-of-the- art robot to help them with a procedure. Surgeons are tested in a variety of scenarios on these instruments.

Most cutting-edge surgeries today can be performed with the assistance of a robot.

“As the demand grows for this technique, it is imperative that doctors in residency training and the already established surgeons on the CAMC staff gain access to these sophisticated instruments to refine their skills,” said J.P. Tierney, DO, urologist.

A da Vinci robot is now in place in the CAMC Simulation Center to give residents, as well as more experienced physicians just getting started or expanding their skill base, a robot to practice surgeries.

“It is not necessary for any surgeon to place their first sutures on a live patient,” Tierney said. “The simulators are available and easy to use with a skilled staff to assist with any developmental direction that needs to be taken.”

As a tertiary teaching hospital in Southern West Virginia, residents have a great interest in learning this skill.

“Robotics is clearly here to stay, and its role will only expand in the future. These young surgeons, as well as other CAMC medical staff, want to be involved with the technology,” Tierney said.

Thanks to funding assistance with the Foundation, CAMC recently purchased a special da Vinci robot that includes a teaching console with controls for the resident and controls for the attending surgeon. This dual console allows the attending surgeon to maintain control of the procedure
while directing the resident.

“Teaching institutions in this country need to have these types of simulators and sophisticated equipment to offer the best care,” Tierney said. “Medical students from across the country who want to serve their residencies at CAMC are aware that CAMC has a sophisticated robotics and simulator program and thus they seek us out for positions in our teaching programs.”

Physicians practicing at CAMC are now using a da Vinci surgical robot for more procedures than any other hospital in West Virginia. At least 11 physicians are performing a variety of urologic, gynecologic and general surgical procedures with the help of this cutting-edge surgical technology.

More physicians in these specialties as well as residents are in the process of training to be credentialed as robotic surgeons.

Currently, there are three surgeons serving as national proctors to teach robotic surgery at other institutions. Additionally, research projects are underway to track the robotic surgical experience at CAMC.

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