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Robotic Surgery Dramatically Improve Lives

The state-of-the-art DaVinci Robotic Surgical System is "dramatically" improving the lives of cancer patients by providing more precise, less-invasive surgery, says Ramin Mirhashemi, MD, of Gynecological Oncology Associates in Torrance.

The DaVinci Surgical platform was installed and put to use at Torrance Memorial Medical Center beginning in the summer of 2006 for many types of urological and gynecological surgeries including prostatectomy, hysterectomy and ovarian cystectomy.

Mirhashemi treats patients with mainly cervical, uterine and ovar­ian cancers and explains that with robotic surgery, major operations are converted to minimally invasive procedures.

"It's not a true robot in that the system does not operate on its own," says Garrett Matsunaga, MD, South Bay Urology Medical Group, Inc. "The robot can only move or respond to the surgeon controlling the robot at the consol."

With the system, physicians are now able to conduct surgery by making four separate one-centimeter incisions rather than 15 to 20 centimeter incisions. Recovery time has also decreased remarkably, some now as low as two weeks rather than four months.

"Most patients [after robotic surgery] go home after one day! There is also much less pain," Mirhashemi explains. Most patients only need Motrin or Tylenol rather than narcotics for the pain. The proce­dure also means decreased blood loss. Prostatectomies conducted with the robot do not translate to the patient needing a blood transfusion as where open surgery has a five to 50 percent chance of requiring a blood transfusion.

This is mainly because the robotic camera, with its three-dimen­sional view, allows a physician to be more concise with more predict­ability. In addition, the procedure is FDA approved and covered by insurance. "This is not experimental," says Matsunaga. "In 2011, more than 93 percent of prostatectomies were performed robotically."

"We are at the cutting edge at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, there is no doubt in my mind," says Mirhashemi.

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