Robot-assisted surgery: a new technique at Lourdes Health - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Robot-assisted surgery: a new technique at Lourdes Health

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PASCO, WA - Robots are now helping Pasco surgeons perform invasive a less invasive manner.

Reporter Caitlin Medearis stopped by the hospital where this innovative method is being used.

The surgical team at Lourdes Medical Center recently performed a gallbladder removal with a single incision...using a robot.

Traditional surgeries like this would require three or four incisions, but these robots, produced by da Vinci Surgical System, allowed surgeons to make a one-inch cut at the belly button through which they could remove the gallbladder.

This method can make surgeries less painful, require less patient recovery time, and decrease scarring.

Doctor Richard Shallman, who lead the team performing the operation, says that although many people needing surgery are candidates for the robot-assisted procedure, it's not always the best option.

"When you're doing an open operation with a big cut, you can see everywhere, move everywhere," says Dr. Shallman. "Laparoscopically, you can see everywhere, move everywhere. With a single-site, you get sort of restricted in a small operating field."

Because there is less room for movement, these robot operations also tend to take hours longer than traditional ones.

However, Dr. Shallman says that as he gains more experience with the technology, he will be able to use it on more people and for more kinds of surgeries.

"It's absolutely the most interesting tool that I've ever had the opportunity to use," he says." It's very complicated, it does a lot of things, it can operate better than I can at very small levels. The intricacy you can get with the robot is really quite amazing."

The robot assistant is operated by Dr. Shallman alone, who sits at a console that gives him a 3D view of the patient and translates his precise hand movements to the robot's instruments.

Lourdes Health says they are excited to be a leader in the surgical methods of tomorrow.