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Ascension St. Vincent hails robotic surgery suite

Ascension St. Vincent hails robotic surgery suite

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — At its “Revved up Rally” for the Pacers, Ascension St. Vincent showed off its da Vinci robotic surgeon Saturday at the Fishers hospital.

General Surgeon Dr. Anthony Zappia says the machine can be overwhelming for patients.

“When they see it right before the operation, they’re kind of overwhelmed because there are a whole lot of things going on with them at the same time they’re going into a room to have an operation but sometimes they’ll wave to it,” he said.

A surgeon looks into a virtual reality-like box with a camera pointed at the operating table. Dr. Zappia uses special controls to manipulate robotic arms that are attached to scalpels, scissors, and forceps.

“I tell patients it’s not a robot that’s doing the operations, I’m more like a crane operator, I’m in my little cab, and I’m moving the levers up and down, the baskets are opening and closing, according to how I wanted it to do,” Dr. Zappia said.

The da Vinci creates only an 8-millimeter incision, much less invasive than a cut from a traditional surgeon’s knife. Recovery time is faster meaning patients spend less time in hospitals and save money on their medical bills.

It can be used by nearly every type of surgeon.

“Neurologists use it for their procedures, they use it for prostates, they use it for kidney surgeries. Colorectal surgeons use it for colon section patients with cancer diverticulitis. The gynecologists use it for hysterectomies,” Dr. Zappia said.

The da Vinci is used at all of Ascension St. Vincent’s hospitals. Dr. Zappia said this technology will likely improve even more over the next few years.