Technology has altered life in many ways. From pocket-sized computers to microscopic cash registers, digital devices and cloud software have shattered limitations on what can be accomplished almost anywhere we happen to be — including operating suites.
Ultra-precise technology like Beaufort Memorial’s da Vinci® system has made minimally invasive surgery (MIS) the standard for many surgical treatments. Similar to laparoscopy, MIS — surgery performed through small incisions instead of the larger traditional openings — is now used for everything from colon, weight loss and acid reflux to spine and joint, gynecologic and heart procedures.
MIS procedures have dramatically changed surgical results and recoveries. With MIS, patients frequently experience less pain, feel back to normal earlier, use fewer narcotics, reduce infection risk, and recover faster. “Patients who have minimally invasive surgery are often more comfortable and happier about the way things look and so, I think, they feel better earlier than other patients,” says board-certified surgeon Dr. Stephen Sisco.
It’s important to understand that tools like the da Vinci robot assist surgeons; they don’t replace them. During MIS, a surgeon uses the da Vinci console to manipulate the robot’s robotic arms with guidance by 3-D imagery. These advanced tools have led to state-of-the-art procedures such as single-site gallbladder removal and hysterectomy, both performed through a single small incision hidden in the navel.
Dr. Greg Miller, a board-certified OB-GYN, notes that while prep and post surgical care are very similar to having laparoscopic surgery, there are a few clear benefits to the robotic technology. “I utilize the da Vinci for as many operations as I possibly can because it's a great instrument. I can increase my precision and reach areas that I previously couldn't reach laparoscopically,” he says.
He also pointed out another key benefit of robotic surgery: how patients feel after having surgery. “The recovery is much more pleasant for patients cosmetically, and also there are many patients who feel like they don't have as much pain as they may have had otherwise,” he says.