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Atrium Medical Center Performs First Hysterectomy with New da Vinci Surgical Robot

Middletown, Ohio, July 9, 2010 - Atrium Medical Center is expanding the use of its new da Vinci surgical system to perform hysterectomies. Hamilton resident Monica Sapp, the first patient to have a da Vinci gynecologic procedure at Atrium, spent just one night in the hospital and returned to work only two weeks after her operation on April 26. With a traditional hysterectomy, most patients are hospitalized three or four days and are off work for six weeks.

“I was surprised at how little pain I had. And I was shocked that I was able to get up and walk the next day,” Sapp says. She learned she needed a hysterectomy about a year ago from her obstetrician/gynecologist, Juan C. Reina, MD. “He explained the benefits of using the robot and told me that Atrium was getting one. I decided it was worth it to wait until the robot was in place at Atrium. I didn’t think about going anywhere else,” she explains.

The da Vinci robot gives surgeons a high definition, three-dimensional view of the operating area. With the ability to magnify images up to 10 times, surgeons have an enhanced view of delicate structures, allowing them to more easily preserve important nerve function and perform complex tissue reconstruction.

“The da Vinci robot enables gynecologists to operate with exceptional precision, vision and control,” says Dr. Reina, who performed Sapp’s procedure with Heather Hilkowitz, MD, assisting. “Instead of a long incision, robot-assisted surgery requires only a few small incisions, so healing is faster and there is minimal scarring.”

Women appreciate that minimally invasive hysterectomy allows them to return to their normal activities much sooner than a traditional operation does, says Lena Fogle, RN, BSN, CNOR, Atrium’s director of perioperative services. “National experience has shown that women experience significantly less pain, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery,” she says.

Hysterectomy joins prostatectomy and other urological procedures being performed with Atrium’s da Vinci robot, which arrived in early spring. In robot-assisted surgery the surgeon sits at a console a few feet away from the patient. Using a high-powered camera, the surgeon controls the robot’s arms that hold the surgical tools. The surgical system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements at the console into precise movements of surgical instruments inside the patient. A surgical team at the patient’s side supervises the robotic arms.

“Dr. Reina gave me a CD to watch about the procedure, so I felt very prepared,” says Sapp, a 44-year-old network engineer. “Everyone at Atrium was very caring. I was so impressed with how well things went that I’ve already recommended the robot-assisted hysterectomy to my sister and friends!”