BEND, OR -- Doctors at St. Charles Bend put a new robot to work in its first surgical procedure, Monday. It's an updated version of the Da Vinci platform the hospital has used for robotic surgery for several years.
Dr. Phuong Nguyen says the technology doesn’t replace his surgical ability, but it’s less invasive. "Instead of a large incision, I’m able to do the same surgeries with multiple small incisions. And, these incisions are about the size of the tip of my finger. And we’re able to do, not only the same surgeries, but, in my opinion, better surgery. Because of the robotic platform, there’s more dexterity and there’s high precision." A tiny camera is inserted through one incision, with the instruments in the others.
He admits some patients are a little nervous about robotic surgery, until he explains the surgeon is nearby, "The robot is controlled by me while I’m sitting inside a console, approximately six-feet away from the patient." Dr. Nguyen tells KBND News the process is a little like playing a very expensive video game, "You have a head mask that you wear that gives you a 360-degree, three-dimensional view of the patient’s abdomen, and you have hand controls and foot controls. So, you’re literally using your entire body at the same time, controlling the robot. And, every movement that I make with my hand, the robot is doing the same movement inside the body."
The Da Vinci robot previously used at the Bend hospital will be moved to St. Charles Redmond. "This is very exciting for, particularly, surgeons like me," says Dr. Nguyen, "because I don’t only perform surgeries in Bend. I also cover the northern campuses. To have a robotics program instituted up there, it’s going to be very good for those patients up there." He believes it will help ease scheduling, and allow residents to stay closer to home instead of having to go to Bend for their surgery.
File Photo courtesy of Intuitive, maker of the Da Vinci surgical robot.