East Valley Dignity hospitals use robotics for minimally invasive surgeries

Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, 3555 S. Val Vista Drive. (Submitted Photo)

Minimally invasive robotic procedures are what some surgeons call the “absolute future of surgical advancements,” and Dignity Health’s East Valley hospitals are working to expand their high-tech robotics programs.

Robotic procedures are becoming more common, according to a press release.

In general, minimally invasive procedures done with robotic devices, which are a surgeon fully controls, require smaller incisions and less post-operative pain medications with decreased tissue trauma and blood loss, decreased risk of infection, faster recovery times and minimal scarring.

Mark Slyter (Submitted Photo)

“We want patients to know that they can get high-level care with top-of-the-line technology right here in their own backyard,” Mark Slyter, president and CEO of Dignity Health Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert medical centers, said in a prepared statement.

“Robotic procedures have been shown to bring considerable benefits to patient outcomes, so we look forward to growing our robotics programs to support the needs of our growing community.”

Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert have been using robotic-assisted devices in select surgeries since 2011. Between the two hospitals, Dignity Health has four robots in the East Valley, and plans to add additional devices in the future, a release states.

Patients are evaluated for the most appropriate surgical approach, individualized to their condition. When performing a robotics procedure, surgeons have complete control of the robot and have improved optics that include 3D vision.

Some of the most common procedures offered by surgeons using these robots at Dignity Health include obstetrics and gynecology procedures such as minimally invasive hysterectomies, urology procedures like those used to treat prostate cancer and thoracic surgeries involving the lungs and esophagus.

Surgeries with robots also include general surgeries such as a hernias and colectomies. Surgeons have also begun to perform more complex surgeries using the newest generation of robotics.

Albert Amini, MD and director of the digestive health program at Chandler Regional, recently performed the East Valley’s first totally-robotic Whipple procedure, according to a release.

The Whipple procedure is used to treat diseases and cancers of the pancreas, duodenum and bile duct. It is one of most difficult gastrointestinal procedures to perform, either by means of conventional open surgery or by the minimally invasive approach.

Successfully performing this procedure with the robotic-assist device is a momentous surgical feat from a technical point of view, and offers significant benefit for the patient and physician, a release states.

“With the totally-robotic Whipple procedure, patients are experiencing less pain, faster return to eating, shorter hospital stays, and a shortened recovery time compared to the traditional open procedure,” Dr. Amini said in a prepared statement.

“For our cancer patients, this means a higher likelihood of recovering and starting any other therapies needed like chemotherapy or radiation sooner. Reducing the recovery time and making it easier and safer for patients to undergo the Whipple procedure will allow us to treat more patients, especially those who are hesitant to undergo the conventional open surgery.”

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