Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 30° Clear
News >  Washington

Skagit Regional Health to offer robotic-assisted surgery

Skagit Regional Health surgeon Joel Dean sits at the console that controls the da Vinci Surgical System that was on display Monday in the hospital lobby in Mount Vernon. (Scott Terrell / Skagit Valley Herald)
Skagit Regional Health surgeon Joel Dean sits at the console that controls the da Vinci Surgical System that was on display Monday in the hospital lobby in Mount Vernon. (Scott Terrell / Skagit Valley Herald)
By Julia-Grace Sanders Associated Press

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Using two tiny mechanical claws, community members tested out Skagit Regional Health’s new robotic surgery system by unwrapping Starburst candies and moving around mini-rubber rings.

Skagit Regional Health will begin offering surgeries aided by the robotic system in September.

“With this instrument, I can do really complex surgeries and stay minimally invasive,” surgeon Joel Dean said.

The system is so precise, users can write their names on a grain of rice with it, Director of Marketing and Communications Kari Ranten said.

It also offers other perks, such as the ability to check organs for blood flow during surgery, Dean said.

Skagit Regional Health bought the system in May for $2 million, Ranten said.

Dean completed a yearlong fellowship in Salt Lake City, where he learned to use the system.

Before the training, Dean said the system’s hefty price tag made him skeptical of its necessity.

“Because its ability to do detailed, fine movements in surgery are so advanced, I quickly became a fan,” he said.

Less recovery time, shorter hospital stays and a lower chance of infection are all advantages of using the system, CEO Brian Ivie said.

“Some people won’t even consider having a surgery at a hospital that doesn’t have a system like this,” he said.

A handful of general practice surgeons are being trained to use the system, Dean said, with the hope of transitioning the technology to additional specialties such as urology and gynecology in the near future.

While a surgeon’s skill is ultimately the most important factor in a successful surgery, Ivie said, the robotic system is a tool that helps surgeons achieve the best work possible.

“You want the best tools available when you’re doing such complex procedures,” Dean said.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.



Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)
Sponsored

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.