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Robotic Surgery Brings Tomorrow's Surgical Techniques to Saint Clare's Today


Region's Largest Community Health System Deploys the Latest in Robot-Assisted Technology for Minimally Invasive Surgery


As part of its ongoing commitment to provide the latest in medical care and technology to its patients in the communities in which they live, Saint Clare's announced today that it performed its first robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgery on March 1, following successful deployment of the da Vinci S Surgical System at

The da Vinci S Surgical System is a minimally invasive surgical robot that integrates the classic skills of the surgeon with the precision of a robot. The system consists of an ergonomically designed surgeon's console, a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, a high-performance vision system and surgical instruments that provide range of motion and dexterity that exceeds that of a human. Powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology, the surgeon's movements are seamlessly translated into precise robotic movements of the surgical instruments.

With the da Vinci system, the surgeon is seated at the console a few feet away from the patient, where they view an actual image of the surgery site and operate in real-time, through tiny incisions, with the robotically-enhanced surgical instruments. At no time does the surgeon see a "manufactured" image of the surgery and the system cannot be programmed, make decisions on its own, move in any way, or perform any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input.

"Robotic surgery has been successfully used in tens of thousands of minimally invasive procedures worldwide. The beauty of this system is its simplicity," says Gregg Zimmerman, M.D., an urologist and surgeon with Saint Clare's. "The da Vinci system mimics the natural movements of the surgeon. When the surgeon rotates the robot's controls clockwise, the surgical instruments twist the same direction, providing exact hand-eye coordination. Traditional minimally invasive surgeries are similar to performing surgery while looking in a mirror. With the robot, surgical movements are more precise than the human hand alone, naturally resulting in less complications and a better surgical experience for patients."

The procedure for Saint Clare's first robotic surgery patient, which involved the removal of a cancerous prostate gland using the da Vinci system, proceeded smoothly with no complications. With only slight discomfort, the patient was released the day following surgery to continue recovery at home.

Robotics has applications in many types of surgery and has received FDA approval for several types of endoscopic cardiac, urologic and general surgery procedures. At Saint Clare's, several of the region's leading urologists have received specialized training in robotic surgery and the da Vinci system. Initial surgical procedures with the robot will be performed by urologists, with additional physicians from other specialties to be trained in the coming months.

"The addition of robots into the operating room may seem like something out of the future," says Marc Greenstein, DO, a urologic surgeon with Saint Clare's. "This technology will enhance our ability to provide needed treatment to our patients, while making them more comfortable and reducing the risks found with traditional surgeries. Normally, surgery means prolonged periods of recovery, but with the precision of robotic surgery, many of our patients are back to full activity in a few weeks."

For more information on robotic surgery, consult your physician or contact the robotic surgery professionals at Saint Clare's at 973-983-5700 or visit the robotic surgery portion of the Saint Clare's Web site by clicking here.

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