“This single-site robotic platform provides surgeons with the increased dexterity, control and high-definition 3-D vision found with traditional robotic surgery, as well as the added benefit of performing the operation through a single, nearly invisible scar hidden in the navel,” Richard Farnam, M.D., a gynecologist and robotic surgeon at Las Palmas Medical Center, said. “This surgery underscores Las Palmas Medical Center’s commitment to providing patients with the highest level of surgical care using the most advanced minimally invasive surgical options.”
Dr. Farnam recently performed the procedure—which involves the removal of a woman’s uterus—on five patients following FDA approval of this revolutionary platform for hysterectomies in March of this year. Using a single incision that is approximately two centimeters in length, the system enables surgeons to remove the uterus through the belly button in less than 60 minutes. Previously, hysterectomies required one large incision for open surgery or multiple small incisions for traditional laparoscopic surgery.
First there was R2-D2, the diminutive robot of “Star Wars” fame.
Now 30 years later, there is daVinci Si Vespa platform, a seven-foot robot with tools on a cart, managed at a console by a surgeon performing one-site hysterectomies and gallbladder operations.
“Medicine lagged far behind the movie industry in realizing that robots could be useful,” laughed Las Palmas surgeon Richard Farnam, M.D., one of the first gynecologists in the country to work with a daVinci robot at the Cleveland Clinic in 2002.
“The great thing about robotics,” he said, “is that it facilitates our ability to do both basic and advanced surgery.”
Farnam’s mentor, Dr. Ahluwalia at St. Elizabeth Hospital in New York, performed the first laparoscopic hysterectomy in 1989.
“Prior to this, 75 percent were done with a cut to the abdomen, 25 percent vaginally,” Farnam said.
In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration approved the daVinci robot for gynecologic surgery. Farnam returned to his hometown of El Paso in 2006, and in 2007 the first surgical robot arrived.
“In 2011 the Texas Institute for Robotics Surgery at Las Palmas Medical Center was created,” Farnam said. “The goal was to ensure efficient, high-quality care with excellent surgical outcomes.”