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da Vinci Surgical Robot

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Robots performing surgery.  It sounds like a headline out of a Sci-Fi novel, but it’s real, and it’s here.  War Memorial Hospital is paving the way for the future in medical care for patients of the U.P. and Northern Lower Michigan, with the introduction of the da Vinci surgical system.  WMH is the only hospital north of Traverse City, and throughout the entire Upper Peninsula, to offer this new robotic surgery.  “The benefits to robotic surgery are less recovery time, less length of stay in the hospital and less pain for the patient,” said WMH CEO David Jahn.  “We felt all of these things would benefit the patients that we serve and robotic surgery is going to be the gold standard in the future so we needed to be first to bring this new technology to the U.P.   A few years ago we were also the first hospital in the U.P. and Northern Lower Michigan to bring in Digital Mammography because of the potential benefits to the patients.”

            Not only does the surgical robot offer many benefits to the patient, but it will also aid WMH in recruitment and retention of physicians.  Jahn went on to say, “Having robotics here will be a great recruiting tool and if we want to maintain our ability to have a urologist in SSM we will need to have this modality since 97% of all urologists are trained in robotics during their fellowships.  Additional benefits from robotics will be identified in the future and we will be able to take advantage of those advancements to benefit the patients that we serve.  An advantage for the surgeons is that it is easier on them physically to use the robot than to stand over the patient for hours at a time doing surgery.  When standing that long, the surgeon’s arms, wrists and back can become sore and the long term impact on their bodies may be significant.  The robot will help prevent injuries to the surgeons and extend their ability to practice their specialty longer in life.”

            The new da Vinci surgical system can be used in a number of specialties, including urology, gynecology, bariatrics, and general surgery.  “I plan on using the robot for hysterectomies, myomectomies (removing uterine fibroids while preserving the uterus) and any surgery where I am concerned about potential scar tissue,” explained Dr. Sara Amo – an OB/GYN at WMH Sault Women’s Healthcare.  “The robot offers us a lot of advantages over traditional laparoscopy such as being able to see in 3-D and having a greater range of motion with our instruments,” Amo added.