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URMC / News / Highland Hospital Acquires Second Da Vinci ® to Meet Growing Demand for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Highland Hospital Acquires Second Da Vinci ® to Meet Growing Demand for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Monday, November 28, 2011

Charlene Cowell, patient

When Charlene Cowell, 61, of Palmyra learned her ovarian cancer returned, she wanted the cancer removed as soon as possible. Cynthia Angel, M.D., recommended she have robotic surgery. Cowell was glad she did.

Cowell previously had a traditional hysterectomy when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years ago. The procedure involved an incision of between six and 10 inches across her abdomen, represented in the illustration below on the left. However, her recent robotic surgery required just 8- to 12-millimeter incisions, shown in the illustration on the right.

Cowell was surprised at how much better she felt.

da Vinci incisions compared with traditional surgery incisions

"It was so incredible," Cowell said. "It was still major surgery, but because I didn’t have to deal with a huge incision, the recovery was much faster and easier. I was walking after a week instead of a month."

Highland leads New York state by volume in use of robotics for gynecologic malignancies. With the addition of a second da Vinci® Surgical System, more women will have access to this minimally invasive surgery at Highland Hospital.

"Highland has had tremendous success with its first da Vinci," said Brent DuBeshter, M.D., director of Gynecologic Oncology and professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (right). "Most hospitals do two robotic procedures a day with a da Vinci, but because of Highland’s specially trained and efficient operating room staff, we’re doing three or four of these surgeries a day. We have maximized the use of the first da Vinci, so a second robot was needed to meet the growing demand from colorectal, gyn/onc, otolaryngology and urology patients."

Brent DuBeshter, MD

More than 540 da Vinci cases were performed at Highland in fiscal year 2011.

The newest da Vinci at Highland has several unique features to provide additional clinical benefits and efficiency in the operating room. Highland is one of the few sites in the country to have an optional dual console and fluorescent imaging to allow doctors to better distinguish between malignant and normal tissue. In addition, it has an enhanced 3D, high-definition vision of the operative field with up to 10 times the magnification. Some of the da Vinci instrumentation also is on booms, giving doctors and staff more space.

Highland surgeons have been performing robotic surgeries since 2008, and the procedure has many advantages. For example, a traditional hysterectomy requires a three- to four-day hospital stay; with a robotic procedure, length of stay drops to as little as one day. The robotic technique also reduces the risk of wound infections since the procedure requires much smaller incisions. Recovery is faster too - two weeks for a robotic procedure compared with six weeks for a traditional hysterectomy.

Da Vinci Surgical System

"The difference in the initial post-operative recovery is phenomenal," said Dr. Angel (left). "Often, I’ll walk into the patient’s room the day after a procedure, and the patient is sitting on the edge of the bed with her shoes tied ready to go home."

Cowell said the shorter recovery period allowed her to have the aggressive treatment she wanted sooner. Two weeks after her robotic surgery, she started chemotherapy.

"I would have put off chemo for a few more weeks if I had done a traditional surgery," she said. "It was important to me to start treatment right away - the sooner the better."

About Highland’s Gynecologic Oncology Division

At Highland Hospital, the Gynecologic Oncology Division is able to provide specialized and coordinated care to its gynecologic cancer patients. All the resources a woman needs for treatment are available - from experienced gynecologic oncologists to robotic surgical technology to a specially trained operating room staff and dedicated women’s inpatient unit. In 2011, Highland Hospital was listed in US News & World Report’s first-ever Best Regional Hospitals rankings for the quality of its gynecology specialty services.

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