On the cutting edge

By on January 28, 2011

Delnor Hospital’s da Vinci Robot improves outcomes
by Lynn Meredith
Geneva—“Scapel, please” is no longer the only word in surgical procedures. Until recently, surgery was performed either by drawing a long incision and exposing the organs, or it was performed laproscopically by drawing a small incision but using relatively rigid instruments. Now a third option is available: a surgeon-controlled robot that can perform complex surgery with great precision.

Members from the Elburn Chamber of Commerce toured Delnor Hospital in Geneva at an after-hours event on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Dr. Jonathan Song, chairman of the Delnor Robotics Committee, gave a presentation and showed a video on the da Vinci system.

“It was a great opportunity to show chamber members first hand what the da Vinci can do,” said Brian Griffin, director of marketing and public relations at Delnor. “We were trying to highlight how the da Vinici is bringing a whole new level of high-tech, minimally-invasive surgery to the area. People will not have to go to a major medical center. They can get it right here in the Elburn area.”

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System performs minimally invasive surgery using three wristed arms that are fully controlled by the surgeon who is standing on a surgical platform right next to the patient. The fourth arm is a high-definition 3-D camera that magnifies the view of the surgical site 10-12 times. The incision created by the surgery is 1-2 cm long.

With wrists that rotate a full 360 degrees, the robot has increased range of motion, dexterity and access. The robot replicates the surgeon’s movements in real-time. It cannot be programmed to perform any procedures on its own, and view of the site is an actual image, not a virtual one.

Many more types of surgery can be performed using the robotic system than with laproscopy. The robot has performed hysterectomies and prostate surgeries, endometrical, throat and other cancer surgeries, uterine fibroid removals and mitral valve prolapse surgeries. It has even removed a kidney using this method. The benefits of this option have been clinically proven, Griffin said.

“It’s of great benefit to patients. There is less risk of infection, shorter recovery times and less pain. They can get back to day-to-day activities sooner. We’re talking about two days versus two weeks,” he said.

In the case of throat cancer, in particular, surgery may be able to be performed without an incision, thereby avoiding scarring and disfiguration and preserving the larynx.

This system gets its name from Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist who is known for his use of great anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details in his paintings.

Photo: Elburn Chamber of Commerce members toured the new addition to Delnor
Community hospital and were shown a presentation of the Da Vinci Surgical robot. Talking after the presentation are (left to right) Chief Nursing Officer Lore Bogolin, Elburn Village President Dave Anderson and Delnor President Tom Wright. Photo by John DiDonna