Three regional hospitals have recently added new robotic surgery systems.
The da Vinci-brand robots enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures. Common surgeries include those for some cancers, as well as gynecological, cardiac and urological procedures.
Surgeons operate the system by sitting at a console a few feet away from the patients. They view an image of the surgery area using tiny video cameras, and use small incisions to insert and guide miniaturized instruments to perform the procedure.
Studies have shown that the more precise surgery results in fewer blood transfusions, shorter hospital stays, less scarring, less pain and faster recoveries.
Deaconess Medical Center spent $1.7 million on its first da Vinci system and surgeons have performed several surgeries so far. Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center recently installed its third robot. The hospital has been using the robot system for about seven years, performing more than 1,100 procedures. Several of the hospital’s surgeons train others in robotic surgery.
And Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene bought its first da Vinci robot for $1.6 million last year and began offering the specialized surgeries in the summer of 2008. So far this year, KMC has performed 101 surgeries using the system.
The new robotic surgery systems were purchased to meet growing patient demand, according to each hospital.
The da Vinci robots are being used in major medical centers across the United States and at least 18 other countries.
Insurance policies covering minimally invasive procedures generally cover the robotic surgeries, according to the manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical Inc.