Northside leads nation’s robotic surgery programs

Posted on: January 24, 2017


More robotic-assisted surgeries are performed at Northside Hospital than anywhere else in the Southeast. New data from Intuitive Surgical, manufacturer of the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System, ranks Northside among the top one percent of all robotic surgery programs in the United States and the No. 1 gynecologic (GYN) robotic surgery program in the country.

Northside Hospital is committed to offering its patients the best care possible using the most innovative and minimally invasive technology available. For most of the last decade, that innovation has included robotic-assisted surgery. Northside Hospital was one of the first health care systems in Atlanta to obtain robotic technology, when it implemented its Advanced Robotic Surgery Program in 2005. A decade later, 96 surgeons on Northside’s staff have performed more than 17,600 robotic surgery procedures across a variety of specialties.

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,” said Scott Miller, M.D., urologist and medical director of the Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery Program at Northside Hospital.

Dr. Miller performed the very first robotic-assisted surgery at Northside, a prostatectomy (prostate removal). He has watched Northside’s Robotic Surgery Program expand across multiple specialties.

“Many of my first surgeries using robotics were prostatectomies, but use of the da Vinci has expanded to other specialties including gynecology, GYN oncology, urology, general surgery and ENT,” said Dr. Miller. “The opportunities this technology brings to the future are exciting.”

During the last 10 years, Northside also has hosted Georgia's first robotic-assisted bladder removal and pyeloplasty (kidney reconstruction), the first successful delivery of healthy twins following a robotic myomectomy (fibroid removal), and the first single-incision robotic gallbladder removal.

Laparoscopic surgery has long made surgery more minimally invasive for patients in a number of specialties. The technique replaces the traditional one-large incision used in open surgery (laparotomy) with several small incisions for instruments and the camera needed to perform the procedure. Fewer and smaller incisions mean less pain and scarring and reduced blood loss.

The addition of robotic surgery has given surgeons who perform minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery an alternative to performing the most intricate of these procedures.

“The most recent robotic platform, with its inherited capabilities, has made performing surgical procedures in the abdomen and chest thru small incisions more practical and with a faster recovery and less pain for patients,” Ceana Nezhat, M.D., GYN surgeon and training and education director for advanced laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery at Northside. . Dr. Ceana Nezhat performed Georgia’s first robotic myomectomy, hysterectomy and treatment of endometriosis at Northside Hospital.

“Northside Hospital is world-recognized for having pioneers of minimally invasive surgery by conventional and robotic-assisted laparoscopy,” said Dr. Nezhat. “As more surgeons learn to perform these procedures by minimally invasive approach, we bridge the gap between laparotomy and laparoscopy.”

Continuing in this tradition, some of Northside’s surgeons (including Drs. Miller and Nezhat) train others from across the country and around the world on how to use robotic technology.

“It’s this level of expertise, combined with the skill and experience of the team of operating room nurses and surgical technologists at Northside, that leads to better patient outcomes and is critical in the success of using robotic technology,” said Vicki Barnett, director of surgical services at Northside Hospital. “All of this experience and state-of-the-art technology helps to solidify our position as the leader for proficiency with cutting-edge procedures that are helping our patients have successful surgery with the smallest amount of risk possible.”

Robotic-assisted surgery is performed at all three Northside hospitals in Atlanta, Canton and Cumming.

Learn more about robotic surgery at Northside.

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