Christopher Lynch, MD, an OB/GYN practicing at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC), has been performing minimally-invasive surgery for the past 15 years. In 2007, Lynch took that experience one step further and became the first surgeon in the Kansas City area to perform a hysterectomy using the da Vinci™ Surgical System.
Lynch said today's patients are very well-educated and know what techniques are available. He said patient demand is why he initially trained on the da Vinci. Patients seek robotic-trained surgeons because they are aware of the benefits.
SMMC was the first hospital in a five-state region to perform minimally-invasive surgery using the da Vinci and continues to be a leader in the field. The hospital now operates two surgical robots focusing on a variety of specialties including gynecology, urology, reproductive endocrinology and general surgery. The robot is controlled by a physician and uses 3-D magnification and 540 degree articulation, allowing for intricate maneuvers that aren't possible with the human hand.
As the coordinator of the Surgical Robotics program at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC), I often get questions about robotic surgery. Through this blog, I will share information and patient experiences we encounter each day at SMMC.
For some people, the idea of robotic surgery is a bit complex. The visual created is one of a robot stomping around the operating room, similar to R2D2.
• What if the robot fails?
• What if its power source goes out?
• What if the robot has been programmed incorrectly?
In the Operating Room, the hand movements of the surgeon are replicated by the robot. Robotic- trained surgeons carefully manipulate robotic arms to perform precise maneuvers, which were previously not possible with the naked eye and human hands.
The EndoWrist™ instrument tips have 540 degrees of articulation, yet can easily pass through dime size incisions. When the surgeon sets down the robotic arms, they make no movement until the surgeon picks them up again. Robotic- assisted surgery provides magnification at 10 times that of the human eye.
Robotic surgery is less invasive thus creates less damage as access is gained to the area requiring removal or repair. Therefore, recovery times are decreased, there is less blood loss, the infection rate decreases, time off work decreases and the need for pain medication decreases.
Robotic-assisted surgery is not new at SMMC. The first procedure was completed in 2002 after the Shull family purchased the hospital's first robot, establishing the Shull Institute for Surgical Robotics. They wanted to give the residents of the metro area the least invasive method of surgery available. Since then, the hospital has performed more than 1,200 procedures and continues to expand the use of the system.