Dr. Marc Mitchell, The Doctors Clinic
"You can’t look at the robot and say it makes doing the surgery any easier,” Mitchell said. "It makes it definitely safer and more ergonomic. It allows you to do complex procedures that would be extremely dangerous done laparascopically.”
Mitchell, 37, didn’t adapt to robotics as a convert from laparascopy. He trained in adult and pediatric robotic surgery during his residency at Michigan State University Medical Center, and he did a rotation at City of Hope, a Los Angeles-area hospital and cancer treatment center, when that facility was implementing robotics.
Mitchell said benefits for patients include a lower risk of infections and other complications that require post-surgical treatment; less loss of blood through an incision 5 millimeters or less in diameter, as compared with "long, muscle-cutting incisions” that Mitchell noted are required for conventional open surgery; the cosmetic appeal of having only a small scar that may be barely visible for incisions made through the navel; and faster healing time, which means a shorter post-surgery stay in the hospital and a quicker return to normal activities for the patient.
Harrison, which has about a dozen robotic-qualified surgeons, currently uses robotics for urology, gynecology and general surgery. But Mitchell said the technique can be used in other specialties, even for single-bypass heart surgery.
"Basically anything that can be done by laparascopy that involves complex anatomy can be pretty well suited for robotic surgery,” he said.
"The robotic system used in operations now is simply a tool we use,” and one that has yielded better outcomes for hundreds of patients.He said that surgeons using the da Vinci robot still need the same level of skill to perform procedures such as hysterectomies or surgery for prostate, kidney or colo-rectal cancers.
Tim Kelly - KPBJ editor