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Winthrop Surgeons Embrace daVinci ® Si HD Robotic Surgery

Gone are the days when a robot in the operating room would only be seen in futuristic fiction. At Winthrop-University Hospital, surgeons are using the ultra-high-tech daVinci Si HD Surgical System to perform minimally invasive surgeries with unprecedented precision.


Winthrop surgeons (l.-r.) Eva Chalas, MD, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of Clinical Cancer Services; Collin Brathwaite, MD, Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery; and David Gershbaum, MD, attending urologist, and others are using the high-tech daVinci Si HD Surgical System to perform minimally invasive surgeries with extraordinary precision.

Seated at a special high-tech console a few feet away from the patient, surgeons attach their fingers to robotic controls, and set their eyes on the high-definition screen where a real-time 3-D, magnified image of the surgical field gives them a better-than-real view of the area of interest. Fine surgical instruments are placed inside the patient through tiny incisions, and the surgeon is ready to work.

“It is a far superior approach to surgery,” says Eva Chalas, MD, Chief of Gynecological Oncology and Director of Clinical Cancer Services at Winthrop. “The surgeon’s view of the surgical field exceeds what is achieved with the natural eye, and the control over the instruments is more precise thanks to technology that translates the surgeon’s movements into exquisitely defined movements by the robotic instruments.”

The new daVinci Surgical System consists of an ergonomically designed surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart with interactive robotic arms, the high-performance InSite® Vision System and proprietary EndoWrist® Instruments. Powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology, the surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and seamlessly translated into precise movements of the instruments. The result is an intuitive interface with breakthrough surgical capabilities.

“The EndoWrist instruments offer great advantages over traditional laparoscopic instruments,” said Collin Brathwaite, MD, Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Winthrop. “The instruments are equipped with joints that bend and move inside of the patient’s body, which means that we, the surgeons, have much greater control over our tools, and there is less trauma to the surgical site.”

The daVinci Surgical System is ideal for many surgeries, and is especially appropriate for surgery in delicate or hard-to-reach areas. Dr. Brathwaite – the first surgeon in New York State to perform gastric bypass bariatric surgery using the daVinci – also performs hiatal hernia repairs, spleenectomy and gastrectomy using the system. In the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Chalas uses the daVinci for gynecological surgeries, including for women’s cancers; Farr Nezhat, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic surgery – who is also a renowned pioneer in minimally invasive and robotic surgery – uses the daVinci for all types of gynecologic surgeries; and Peter S. Finamore, MD, Associate Director of Urogynecology at Winthrop, is using the daVinci to perform hysterectomies and sacrocolpopexy for vaginal or uterine prolapse. David Gershbaum, MD, attending urologist at Winthrop, uses the robotic system to perform surgery for prostate cancer, as well as for reconstructive kidney surgery to repair obstructions or congenital defects and for partial nephrectomies.

“The system provides visualization of the operative field that is far superior to traditional laproscopy,” said Dr. Finamore.

“Robotic surgery with the daVinci yields results comparable to those of open surgery but with a fraction of the trauma to the patient. Pain and healing time are reduced tremendously and patients return to normal activities much faster,” said Dr. Gershbaum.

Major advantages of the new daVinci include two major innovations in robot-assisted surgery – Dual Console Capability, so that two surgeons may work in concert on a single case, and the enhanced 3-D HD visualization, which offers vision equivalent to a 1080i high-definition television screen.

In addition, the daVinci also results in less scarring than other surgical techniques. This can be particularly important following surgeries in delicate areas such as the reproductive organs or urinary tract and the quicker recovery enables patients to get on with their lives – and if necessary, their continued medical treatment.

“The rapid recovery we see with the daVinci has tremendous implications for cancer patients,” points out Dr. Chalas. “Often after we perform surgery to remove a tumor, patients must undergo radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments to maximize the chances of success. The faster they recover from the surgery, the sooner they can complete their therapy and return to normal activities.”

The number of Winthrop surgeons trained to utilize this highly effective tool to perform surgeries that previously required traditional open surgeries is growing rapidly.

For more information about state-of-the-art surgical services at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Vol. 20, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2010

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