Robotic Surgery

AMSTERDAM – Visitors to St. Mary’s Hospital on Friday afternoon were able to get up close and personal with da Vinci.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System was unveiled to the public during a special presentation Friday at the hospital. The public was allowed to practice on a demonstration model that was brought in. More than a dozen members of the public were able to stop by and use the demonstration model to get a better idea of how the new tool operates.

The $1.7 million four-armed robot, 3D viewer control station and teaching station arrived in town June 30. The system can be used for gynecology, urology, thoracic and cardiac surgeries as well as general surgeries.

The system includes a system of robotic arms, or ports, that allow a surgeon to make 8.5 millimeters incisions in the body and use up to three remote arms with a camera attachment to perform surgery with precise movements, including some the human body can not perform.

The robotic surgery tool allows for less invasive surgeries with quicker recovery, less blood loss and less pain than with traditional surgery. The machine is capable of doing a variety of surgeries including gall bladder removal and treatments for colon and lung cancer.

St. Mary’s is the first hospital in the region, and the 12th nationwide, to get the new model.

Ronald Marsh, port certified general surgeon, said the system is still being set up, and certification is needed before doctors can begin using it.

Theresa DeCarlo, a registered nurse, said the new surgery robot can be used by general surgeons, gynecological surgeons and urology surgeons. She said other staff members will be trained in setting up the device.

St. Mary’s Hospital President and CEO Vic Giulianelli said the hospital decided to go with this model after speaking with surgeons, including Marsh, about getting a robotic surgery system. He said he felt it was time to move the hospital forward by acquiring this advanced system.

He said the hospital had been looking into obtaining a robotic surgery device for a while, but finally got serious about purchasing one several months ago.

Giulianelli said patients want to go to hospitals where the latest technology is available.

“People are looking for hospitals that have this advanced technology,” Giulianelli said.

Giulianelli said the hospital expects about 100 people a year will have surgery using the da Vinci Xi.

Marsh said the first surgery using the new robotic device should take place in the middle of next month.