Robotic Surgeries Revolutionize Medicine

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Robotic Assisted Surgery

Patients with gynecologic, urologic and colorectal cancers benefit from this innovative technology.

Sitting at a console in a surgical suite at Long Beach Memorial, Imad Shbeeb, M.D., renowned colorectal surgeon, monitors video screens and directs robotic arms to remove cancerous tumors and surrounding tissue when performing surgeries for patients with colorectal cancers.

The da Vinci® Si Surgical System seamlessly translates Dr. Shbeeb’s natural hand, wrist and finger movements from controls at the console to the surgical instruments inside the patient. With this sophisticated technology, Dr. Shbeeb and other Long Beach Memorial surgeons are empowered to perform an array of procedures through small 1–2 cm incisions.

“These advantages are significant for precision and control,” says Dr. Shbeeb, who has long been an advocate of less invasive techniques.

The Patient Advantage

At Long Beach Memorial, surgical teams have successfully completed hundreds of robot- assisted surgeries on patients afflicted with gynecologic, urologic and colorectal cancers.

Robert Bristow, M.D., medical director of gynecologic oncology at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial, has operated with this technology since 2006. “In hysterectomies due to uterine cancer, instead of an open surgery incision that is one-and a-half-feet long, five tiny incisions are all that’s needed,” he says. “We’re performing highly complex cases with less pain, minimal scarring and vastly improved recoveries.”

Lynne experienced the benefits of robotic surgery first-hand. Due to precancerous cells, she needed a total hysterectomy, removal of the uterus. She describes the procedure as “truly remarkable and life-changing.” Her biggest surprise came from her healing time. “I had the surgery on Monday and went home Tuesday afternoon. The only pain medication I needed was ibuprofen. By Thursday, I was outside watering my plants, and on Saturday I was walking around the mall. This was not my mother’s hysterectomy,” she says.

Male Perspective

Although many prostate cancers are not serious, some forms may be more aggressive. A radical prostatectomy, or prostate removal, may be required, especially if severe urinary issues occur. Atreya Dash, M.D., medical director of urologic cancer at TCI, recognizes the concerns and anxiety that male patients may have with this procedure. “Besides curing the cancer, the biggest concerns remain safeguarding urinary and sexual functions. Robotic surgery may allow quicker recovery in both cases. It’s innovation at its best,” says Dr. Dash.

In addition to addressing cancer and other issues in the pelvic area, Long Beach Memorial’s robotic system may also be used for certain head and neck cancers. To speak with an experienced oncology nurse about various treatment options, call TCI’s Cancer AnswersFind a robotic surgeon.