UVa Surgical Robot Makes Procedures Quicker, Less Painful

December 20, 2012

Any time you need to have surgery to treat cancer, it's serious business, and can be a scary proposition. But a new technique at the University of Virginia is allowing doctors to treat patients quickly, and with much less pain.

Dr. Benjamin Kozower sits at the operating console controlling the Da Vinci surgical robot. the $2.5 million machine gives him a steady hand, and unprecedented sight during a procedure.

"The advantage of the system is that the visualization is tremendous, it's magnified ten times so we can really see very clearly, and the four arms {male sure} that I have have no tremor, so delicate things it helps you do it precisely," said Dr. Kozower.

This type of surgery has been around for about 10 years, but in the last two months, Dr. Kozower began using it to operate on different types of cancer.

"We've been doing the full spectrum: lung cancer operations, esophageal operations, benign procedures and ecchlasia," he said.

The precision is unmatched.

"We've been doing the surgery for 10 years, but I think this will be able to do the procedure more precisely, and it will allow me to do it without the big incision," he added.

That's why it's getting such great results. Doctors only need to make a small incision and put it ports for the robot, as opposed to a traditional procedure that, he says, hurts.

"You can put a lot of pressure on incisions between the ribs, and we don't think about that, but if you are doing an operation for one or two hours and you are torquing on the ribs, it hurts," Dr. Kozower said. "One of the nice things about this system is you have no pressure on the ribs."

Without that pressure, you don't get the pain. It speeds up recovery time, and gets people home from the hospital faster.

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