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Robotic Technology Raises the Surgical Bar

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in excess of $2 million. “This state-of-the-art surgery is raising the bar at South Miami Hospital’s Surgery Center,” said Javier Hernandez-Lichtl, CEO of South Miami Hospital. “From traditional surgeries to extremely delicate or complex surgeries, the benefits to our patients are irrefutable.”

Here’s how robotic surgery works: The surgical team makes four to six dime-sized incisions in the patient’s body. These incisions are called operating ports, and slender tubes called trocars are inserted into those small openings. The robot is wheeled into posi- tion and the four arms of the robot are docked into individual ports. Surgical tools are attached to the end of the robot’s arms. “Those arms are like an extension of our own hands,” said gynecological oncologist Nicholas Lambrou, M.D.

One robotic arm holds a digital camera, which provides a three-dimensional view of the internal organs and tissues. Those images appear on a large screen near the operating table on a small console, where the surgeon sits during the operation. While watching a magnified, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy, the surgeon manipulates the other three arms of the robot by using foot pedals and hand controls. And while seated just a few feet away from the oper- ating table, the doctor cuts tissue and removes tumors.

Standing by the patient, a second surgeon works with another port. Through that opening, this surgeon performs several manual chores, including suctioning

blood, removing specimens for biopsies and chang- ing instruments. The tools used for robot-assisted surgery cut and cauterize blood vessels in a single step. This multitasking process eliminates steps and reduces blood loss.

The robot is also programmed with safeguards that protect the patient from abrupt or uncontrolled move- ments. These safety measures neutralize hand tremors and sudden jerks that could possibly occur in tradi- tional surgery. “In prostate procedures, robot-assisted surgery helps to avoid damaging nerves that are vital to bladder and sexual function,” said urologist Avelino Piñon, M.D.

Until recently, minimally invasive surgery was not widely used for extremely delicate or complex surgeries because the equipment designed to operate through small incisions included stiff instruments that resembled knitting needles or chopsticks. Those surgical tools — ideal for some procedures — lacked the flexibility and control of the human wrist. But the da Vinci technology includes instruments that move and rotate with the flexibility and range of a human wrist and can carry out complex procedures without making large openings in the body.

Less pain, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times and less blood loss translate to better surgical experiences and outcomes for our patients — a monumental achievement through robotic surgery.

If you would like to support the Center for Robotic Surgery at South Miami Hospital, please call Karl Cetta at 786-662-8206, or e-mail karlc@baptisthealth.net.

South Miami Hospital surgeons Dr. Mark Dylewski (left) and Dr. Nicholas Lambrou use the da inci robot to perform surgery.

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