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ROBOTS ASSIST WITH SURGERY
Thursday, July 20th, 2006 -- 12:18 pm
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director


There’s an old saying, if someone’s really coordinated, you might say they have the “hands of a surgeon”, but surgeon’s hands might become obsolete as technology continues to change the healthcare field.

St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield recently purchased a surgical robot.

While the robot doesn’t make decisions, it does serve as the surgeon’s hands in a select number of non-evasive surgeries.

“It’s a machine that wheels over to the operating table. It has four arms on it. The surgeon sits at a console away from the patient and manipulates the arms up and down, in and out,” explains Mike Blanchard, Vice President of Administrative Services at St. Joseph’s.

The $1.5-million “Da Vinci ‘S’” – as it’s called – will perform its first surgery in Marshfield on August 3rd.

It will initially be used in the Urology department to perform prostate and hysterectomy procedures, but will eventually be used in other departments throughout the hospital.

While it won’t render surgeon’s obsolete, Blanchard believes robot-assisted surgery is the future of trade.

“What this does, I think, is lessen the potential of human error,” Blanchard says. “It allows the surgeon to see things better… get into much tighter spaces and not disturb the surrounding tissue.”

Blanchard says studies show robot-assisted surgery reduces pain, scarring and the length of stay.

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