Robots proving to be wonderful assistants for local surgeons - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Robots proving to be wonderful assistants for local surgeons

It may sound like something out of science fiction - robots being used to perform the most intricate of surgeries.  CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital is the only hospital in the region with a da Vinci robotic surgery system and surgeons let 7News go behind the scenes with them to find out how it works.

Two arms and a camera, the da Vinci system is the latest and greatest surgical assistant: a robot manned by a specially-trained surgeon. Director of Robotic Surgery, Dr. Farjaad Siddiq said, "Whatever I do on the console, the machine replicates inside the body."

Dr. Siddiq and OB/GYN Dr. Lee Monlezun, Junior have been performing robotic-assisted surgeries with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital's da Vinci system since its inception in 2006.  They say it has revolutionized what is seen, by using 3D vision.  "If you try to drive a car with only one eye open, you lose depth of field, so the first thing the robot gives you is depth of field," said Dr. Monlezun.  Dr. Siddiq added, "We see things with the magnification and precision of the robot that we never saw before."

Beyond the 10 times magnification, the robot allows surgeons to operate with hands that can rotate at 360 degrees.  "There's no limitation," said Dr. Monlezun, "if I turn one way, you can double that with a robot."

The biggest advantage with having a robotic surgery versus an open surgery is that incisions for open surgeries have to fit both of the surgeons hands inside, whereas a robotic arm is only about the size of a pen, meaning a half inch incision.  "It is the same, precise operation with a much smaller incision, a lot less trauma, a lot less bleeding, much quicker recovery," said Dr. Siddiq.

Dr. Siddiq uses the robot for surgeries on the prostate and kidney.  It can also be used on the gallbladder, in gastric bypasses and Dr. Monlezun uses it for minimally-invasive hysterectomies.  "The total abdominal hysterectomy that normally would be done through a midline can be done with a robot," he said.

With the benefits of less pain, fewer complications and hospital stays cut in half or more, these physicians are excited to see robots change the operating field in every laparoscopic procedure.  "Just about anything that can be done laparoscopically can be done with a robot," said Dr. Siddiq.

The da Vinci system is also used for cardiac procedures, like coronary artery diseased and mitral valve prolapse.

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