At Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, we take great pride in caring for our patients with the kind of state-of-the art technology typically found at academic medical centers. We even have a team that specializes in robotic surgery. Recently this team reached a milestone by completing the 100th procedure using the da Vinci robotic surgical system. The hospital purchased this innovative system last year to enable surgeons to perform complicated procedures in a minimally invasive manner.
Dr. Sudarshan Sharma performed the first and the 100th da Vinci surgeries at our hospital—not to mention countless others in between. Sharma is a 14-year veteran of laparoscopic procedures and specializes in gynecological oncology. He is a big fan of the da Vinci because of its innovative design and unique qualities.
"Using the daVinci is better than looking with your eyes," Sharma said. "And that's a plus during surgery."
To operate the da Vinci Surgical System, the surgeon sits at a console near the patient. The robot itself holds the surgical tools and, guided by a high-power camera, the surgeon moves the robot's four arms. The robot's jointed "wrists," mimics for the surgeon the feel of open surgery. In conventional laparoscopy, the surgeon stands while he operates and uses hand-held instruments that contain long shafts and no wrists.
The da Vinci's monitoring system provides the surgeon with a clear, colored, magnified, three-dimensional view of the patient's anatomy. By contrast, the pictures produced during traditional laparoscopic surgery contain only two-dimensions and the surgeon must look away from the patient to view these pictures.
For Sharma's cancer patients, the da Vinci eases the surgical process. With only a few tiny cuts, women may leave the hospital within one to two days following the surgery. Most will recover within a week. In addition, patients who undergo surgery with the da Vinci may also experience the same benefits of other minimally invasive procedures, including less pain, blood loss and need for blood transfusion. Built-in safety features reduces potential risk to the patient deriving from human error.
By comparison, women who endure traditional hysterectomies require a large incision, experience a longer hospital stay (three to four days) and need four to six weeks to recuperate.
"Sometimes, it takes them three to six months before they feel better," Sharma said. "This is much easier for them because it's less traumatic."
In addition to hysterectomies, the da Vinci is suitable for a variety of other surgical procedures, including cardiac, thoracic, urological, and prostatectomy. Robotic surgery is no longer relegated to science fiction novels or movies set in the future. It's the next frontier of medicine, and it's available at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.