By Diana Lomont, Editorial Contributor
Imagine a wrist that rotates in a circle while bent at a 90-degree angle. Or fingers that can flex as far backward as forward. Add in a third and fourth arm. No, this isn’t something from the set of a science-fiction movie. It’s a surgical robot that assists doctors in performing intricate surgery with a level of accuracy and precision difficult to attain with the human hand.
During robotic surgery, the surgeon peers at a high-definition, 3-D image transmitted by a tiny camera (called a laparoscope) from inside the patient’s body. Hand, wrist and finger movements made at the console are translated into precise movements of miniaturized surgical tools attached to three or four robotic arms.
Because the wristed instruments bend and rotate at a greater degree than the human hand, the surgeon is able to perform intricate maneuvers not possible with its human counterpart. Complex surgeries are performed through just a few small incisions.
For patients, robotic surgery offers several benefits. The smaller incisions can result in less scarring and minimum trauma to surrounding tissue. Patients require less pain medicine, and robotic surgeries typically have fewer complications. Shorter hospital stays and recovery times mean patients can return to their normal activities sooner.
More than 10 years ago, the first laparoscopic and robotic surgery in Orlando was performed at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Today, the healthcare system has specialists in six types of robotic surgery who train medical professionals from around the world in these high-tech procedures. In addition, four facilities — Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and Orlando Health South Lake Hospital — have been recognized as Centers of Excellence in Robotic Surgery from the Surgical Review Corporation, a patient-safety organization dedicated to recognizing and refining surgical care.
“All Orlando Health hospitals offer robotic surgery. Last year, more than 3,000 robotic procedures were performed at our hospitals, making it one of the most robust robotic surgery programs in the country,” says Dr. Veronica Schimp, program director of the Orlando Health Advanced Robotic Surgery Center. “We offer robotic procedures in 11 medical specialties to care for our adult and pediatric patients.”
Orlando Health offers robotic surgery for:
- Colorectal surgery
- General surgery
- Gynecologic oncology surgery
- Gynecologic surgery
- Head and neck surgery
- Hepatobiliary surgery
- Pediatric general surgery
- Pediatric urologic surgery
- Thoracic surgery
- Urologic surgery
- Weight loss/bariatric surgery
For more information about robotic surgery at Orlando Health, visit OrlandoHealth.com/RoboticSurgery or call 321.841.9365.