ROBOTIC ASSISTED SURGERY IN STATE PERFORMED
Surgeons at the University of Illinois at Chicago today successfully performed two robotic assisted laparoscopic surgeries. UIC is the first institution in the tri-state region and only the fifth in the nation to perform robotic surgery since the FDA approved use of the only commercially available device July 11.
Dr. Santiago Horgan, director of minimally invasive surgery at UIC, used the robotic device to remove the first patient's gall bladder (cholecystectomy). The second case was a laparoscopic gastric bypass, the first ever of its type to be done robotically.
With a second surgeon and other medical personnel at the patient's side, Horgan operated from a console a few feet away, viewing a three-dimensional image of the surgical field and controlling the instruments. He expects that, within a year or two, he and other specially trained surgeons will use the same techniques to operate from their own hospitals on patients anywhere in the world, a technique known as telepresence surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, performed through a small opening rather than a large incision. Surgeons use a tiny camera to view the operating field and small instruments to perform the surgery. Robotic assisted surgery vastly expands the capabilities of surgeons to operate laparoscopically, Horgan says. Like conventional laparoscopic surgery, it eliminates the need for large incisions that prolong the patient's recovery. The robotic device allows surgeons to view the operating field in 3-D and manipulate the instruments precisely and naturally.
Perhaps the most important advantage of robotic surgery is that it provides range of motion similar to wrist movement, which is not possible with traditional laparoscopic instruments. Modeled after the human wrist, the robotic instruments have cables that work like tendons in the hands to allow precise movements.
With the da Vinci Surgical System, the surgeon grasps the instrument controls below the 3-D display with wrists naturally positioned relative to his or her eyes. The technology translates the surgeon's movements into precise, real-time movements of the surgical instruments inside the patient.
"This gives us back the opportunity to move our hands inside the body. It allows us to be more precise, more delicate," Horgan said. "It clearly will enhance the way we do laparoscopic surgery today. Operations that are hard to do laparoscopically are made easier with the robot. This allows the average laparoscopic surgeon to do advanced laparoscopic surgery and the advanced surgeon to do things that haven't been done laparoscopically."
UIC will be the first of three sites in the U.S. to provide federally mandated clinical training for surgeons using the robotic system. The university built a state-of-the-art training lab last year, along with two operating rooms equipped with the most advanced technology for minimally invasive surgery and the capability to do satellite uplinks.
"With the training center and our advanced new facilities, UIC is in a position of leadership in this technology, which represents a complete change in the way we do surgery," Horgan said.
The UIC College of Medicine is the nation's largest medical school. One out of six Illinois doctors is a graduate of the college, as are 70 percent of the minority physicians practicing in Chicago. The college produces more medical school faculty than all but five schools in the country.
With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological, and cultural fabric of the entire metropolitan region.
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