Students peek at robotic surgery

04/01/2014 6:04 PM

04/01/2014 6:04 PM

The Lee’s Summit West robotics team played doctor at Saint Luke’s East Hospital last month, trying out the new da Vinci Surgical System.

The hospital recently acquired the $1.6 million upgrade to replace its current surgical robot. The robot is used primarily for neurological, prostate and gynecological procedures.

“For our great outcomes, it’s worth it,” said CEO Ron Baker.

Surgeons had been practicing at the controls of the robot and Saint Lukes’s invited the high school students to look at the machine March 7 and give it a spin.

Baker said it was exciting to work with students and encourage them to consider using their interest in electronics in the medical field, or “Maybe some of them will decided to become surgeons,” he said.

The robot’s small tools can be inserted through small incisions in the patient. With the new robot, some procedures can be completed making only one port. Gas is used to inflate the abdomen to create room for the arms to move and surgeon to see.

The small tools that operate from the end of the robot arms can readily reach areas that doctors had difficulty getting their hands to, said Dianne Rood, clinical coordinator for the operating room.

There is much less trauma for the patient, Rood said.

The students’ response “Cool.”

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