Posted on: January 07, 2016
Northside Hospital-Atlanta was one of the first hospitals in Georgia to offer robotic surgeries when it implemented its Advanced Robotic Surgery Program following the adoption of the daVinci Robotic System in 2005. Now a decade later, 86 surgeons on Northside’s staff have performed more than 15,000 robotic surgery procedures*, more than any other hospital in the Southeast adapted the technology into a variety of specialties and are a training center for other surgeons. We also provide learning opportunities throughout the world through video conferencing.
Dr. Scott Miller, medical director of the advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgery program at Northside, helped establish and grow the program from its inception. He recalls the early days of explaining the benefits of robot-assisted surgery with some of his first patients, to adding other surgical robots in the operating room, including the Magellan and the MAKOplasty, and then watching the program expand across multiple specialties. Dr. Miller discusses how the daVinci became a member of the surgical team and how it, the surgeons who use it, and the robotics program as a whole have grown since 2005.
Miller: Robot-assisted procedures were still very new in 2005, but they were attractive to surgeons because they allow us to do things that physically would be very taxing mentally or ergonomically. The Robotics System allows a surgeon to use enhanced vision to manipulate robotic arms and an endoscope to perform intricate surgical procedures. The wrists of the robot mimic the motions made by the physician, who sits at a console away from the patient, which provides greater range of motion than humanly possible.
Miller: Like all situations with new technology, and especially in the healthcare industry where people feel exceptionally vulnerable, patients were initially apprehensive about the idea of a robot involved in their operation. I was and still am always careful in how I explain the role of a robot in any operation, clarifying that the robot does not operate independently of the surgeon, rather it enhances the surgeon’s abilities. Patients benefit from smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, reduced blood loss and need for transfusions, shorter hospital stays, quicker recoveries and reduced risk of infection.
Miller: Many of my first surgeries using robotics were prostatectomies, but use of the daVinci has expanded to other specialties including gynecology, GYN oncology, urology, general surgery, and ENT.
Miller: Robotic surgery has offered patients a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open surgery. Robotic surgery has given surgeons even better tools to perform the most intricate of minimally invasive procedures and achieve better outcomes for their patients in a growing range of specialties. Some added benefits as they continue to upgrade technology include better visualization and multiquadrant access.
Miller: The opportunities this technology brings to the future are exciting. It allows surgeons to see at extra angles – to look over mountains and reach around corners – and to treat the patient with pinpoint accuracy, ultimately leading to less pain and a quicker recovery time.
* Indicates total number of robotic surgeries performed using all robotic technology at Northside Hospital
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