Laparoscopic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center successfully performed robotically assisted laparoscopic gastric-bypass and colon-resections surgerie
Dr. Homero Rivas, assistant professor of GI/endocrine surgery, performed the two new procedures through the Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery, which has premiered many of the area's firsts in laparoscopic procedures and research.
Using a robot facilitates access to some inaccessible places in the body such as abdominal and gastrointestinal areas.
The procedures were performed using DaVinci, a four-armed robot controlled by the surgeon via a joystick. DaVinci can provide better camera views and more precise surgical manipulations than are available in traditional laparoscopic surgeries.
The DaVinci camera offers high-definition imaging so surgeons can see depth measurements not possible with the conventional laparoscopic cameras. Maneuvering the joystick controls on the robot is often easier than the more complex manipulations required by laparoscopic instruments.
Laparoscopic surgeries are performed via several tiny holes rather than one long incision. This usually results in fewer complications, shorter recovery times and less post-operative pain.
As a result, laparoscopic surgeons expect the robotic procedures to grow in popularity for colon, gastric and esophageal operations, said Dr. Edward Livingston, chairman of GI/endocrine surgery.
On the other hand, surgeries for colon cancers are on the rise, while gastric bypass procedures also are becoming more common.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in America with more than 106,000 new cases in 2006.
Gastric bypass has become more popular as obesity among the nation's population increases. More than 140,000 gastric bypass procedures are performed annually in the United States.
In addition, UT Southwestern was part of a landmark study that proved laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer is just as effective as traditional open surgery.
The robot-assisted surgeries have all those patient-centered advantages, plus the robot often can provide better visuals, access and mechanical stamina, which makes an operation less-tiring for the surgeons, said Dr. Livingston.
'For particular operations, the robot has an advantage,' Dr. Livingston said. 'It's a combination of access, depth perception and magnification that provides the advantage in some cases.'