A new era in medical technology

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO)-- The Da Vinci surgical system is revolutionizing Western Slope healthcare.

Intuitive Surgical introduced the FDA approved Da Vinci robot in 1999. The $1.8 million robotic system been in the Grand Valley since 2007. It's allowing surgeons to perform procedures with smaller incisions, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and faster healing times.

"There's no doubt in my mind, for the very complicated gynecological surgeries, it's a huge leap forward," said Dr. Josh Pearson, D.O., with Women's Healthcare of Western Colorado.

Dr. Pearson was one of the first doctors in the Grand Valley to start using the Da Vinci robot more than six years ago.

"When you start getting into really difficult cases that would be hard to do any other way, other than making a large incision, the robot is really hard to beat," said Pearson.

Surgeons operate the robot's four arms through a console.

"There's a separate camera for each of your eyes, and so when we sit in the controller for the robot and we watch the viewfinder, it's all three-dimensional," explained Pearson.

The robot performs safety checks while the surgeons control it. "Some surgeons will struggle with a little bit of a tremor in their hands; you can scale the movement of the robot, so when you make a large movement in the controller, it makes a very tiny movement in the abdomen to reduce or eliminate any tremor," added Pearson.

The robot performs common procedures like hysterectomies and prostrate removals.

"If you compare traditional laparoscopy with this new technology, there's less tissue trauma going back and forth in the same small areas that we haven't been able to work in before," said Dr. Heather Bourkovski, D.O, an obstetrician with Women's Healthcare of Western Colorado.

Local doctors believe robotic technology will one day be the norm.

"What you're going to see are more and more uses, and more and more specialties, and that's exciting for me. I think they're headed for times when we have less incisions that we do now, and better technology as we go along," explained Bourkovski.

And for now, they're definitely recommending it to their patients.

"When I explain the benefits of it, that it's a safer procedure for them, and it will get them back to quality of life sooner, they're definitely interested in it," said Bourkovski.

Da Vinci robots currently operate in several thousand hospitals nationwide, including Grand Junction and Montrose. Da Vinci robots nationwide will perform an estimated 200,000 surgeries this year.

Most insurance companies cover procedures performed with the use of the Da Vinci robot. To learn more about it, visit the related link below.


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