Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 23, 2012

Robotic-Assisted Gall Bladder Surgeries Now Possible With Just One Incision, Accelerating Healing

There once was a time when the thought of a robot in an operating room would give most people the chills. But today, robotic-assisted surgery is used for aortic aneurysms, prostatectomies, even hysterectomies.

Summa Health System recently announced that two patients underwent new single-site robotic gallbladder surgery at Summa Akron City Hospital and awoke with just one small incision in their belly buttons, according to a press release.

The procedures, called robotic cholecystectomies, were performed using a new set of specially designed robotic surgery instruments attached to the da Vinci Si Surgery System.

"With this new technology, we are truly taking the next step with our robotic surgery program and reaffirming our commitment to excellence on the new frontiers in surgery," said Summa's chief of robotics Thomas J. Mendise, M.D., in the press release. "This underscores our desire to provide the latest enhancements in patient care and continually offer the greatest technology to our patients."

Some hospitals may still be avoiding the use of robotic-assisted systems because of the cost, which can range from $1 to $2.3 million, depending on the version. Mandatory annual service agreements range from $100,000 to $170,000 per year, according to Kelly Wright, MD.

Summa Health System said in its press release that it invested approximately $91 thousand in the new technology and performs more than 800 gallbladder surgeries each year.

"The new robotic technology allows surgeons to offer the very best in minimally invasive surgical technique with incredible visualization and dexterity for our patients," added Dr. Adrian G. Dan, who performed the first cases on Monday, in the press release. "Single-site robotic surgery means a more gentle surgery, with all the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, and no visible scar."

Single-site surgery is popular because, although robotic-assisted surgery in general is much less invasive than open surgery, using just one incision site results in less blood loss, smaller scars and an overall quicker recovery.

A recent study found that, though there’s not much difference between open gall-bladder surgeries and robotic cholecystectomies, the latter may allow surgeons to efficiently combine more complicated procedures. 

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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