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Robotic Surgery

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Robotic Surgery

The da Vinci surgical system uses robotic-assisted technology to enable surgeons at Augusta University Health, in Augusta, Georgia, to perform complex procedures with a minimally invasive approach.

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Augusta University Health offers robotic surgeries, in a range of specialties, all in one location - at our Center for Advanced Robotic Surgery - making it easy for patients in Georgia, South Carolina and the Southeast to access the best in surgical care.

Augusta University Health offers robotic surgeries, in a range of specialties, all in one location - at our Center for Advanced Robotic Surgery - making it easy for patients in Georgia, South Carolina and the Southeast to access the best in surgical care.

Why Choose Us

When you come to AU Health, you can have confidence knowing your robotic procedure is being performed by the largest, most experienced team of specialized surgeons in the area. We offer:

  • A high-volume surgery center: Studies show improved outcomes for patients who are treated at high-volume centers with experienced surgeons.
  • Progressive surgeons: We have physicians who helped pioneer robotic surgical techniques. We also provide the area’s only robotic simulation module that allows surgeons to fine-tune their surgical skills.
  • Advanced procedures: We perform advanced procedures not available at other area facilities. These include removing the bladder for bladder cancer, salvage prostatectomy when prostate cancer recurs after radiation therapy, and the "facelift" thyroidectomy which eliminates neck scarring.  
  • Imaging technology: Our hospital is the only one in the area that uses Firefly Fluorescence Imaging Technology. Firefly allows our surgeons to distinguish normal tissue from cancerous, operating with greater precision, helping avoid the possibility of having future surgeries.
  • Multidisciplinary care: As a patient at Augusta University Health, you have access to the largest team of specialists, all on one campus.

Academic Advantage

As a patient in an academic health center, you get the highest standard of care because you are being treated by surgeons with the expertise to train the next generation of surgeons. Our surgeons attend national and international conferences, continuously learning about the newest technology and the latest standards of care.

Robotic surgery is fast becoming the standard of care for many specialties. AU Health uses the da Vinci surgical system, robotic technology that equips surgeons with enhanced vision, more range of motion, and greater accuracy, which is especially important when it comes to operating on cancers and delicate areas of the body.

The da Vinci surgical system is made up of precision tools designed for complex and delicate surgeries, it includes:

  • a patient side cart
  • a surgeon's console
  • an advanced vision system with a high-resolution 3-D endoscopic camera
  • Robotic EndoWrist Instruments with flexible joints to enhace the natural range of motion of the human hand, reduce tremors and scale motions to refine the surgeon's movements

What Happens During Robotic Surgery

The surgeon takes a seat at the surgeon's console. Using the advanced vision system, the surgeon sees a clear, detailed picture of the surgical field while sitting upright and comfortable, reducing fatigue.  

The surgeon inserts the robotic instruments and endoscope, or small camera, inside the patient's body through a series of small incisions.  

From the console, the surgeon maneuvers the robotic arms that hold the instruments and endoscope. The system seamlessly translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise real-time movements of the surgical instruments.

Patients generally stay one night in the hospital and return to normal activities much more quickly than after traditional surgeries.

Benefits of da Vinci Robotic Surgery

The system provides surgeons with the range of motion, fine tissue manipulation capability and 3-D visualization characteristic of open surgery, yet allows them to work through tiny incisions used in minimally invasive surgeries.

Benefits to patients include: 

  • less pain
  • less blood loss
  • less scarring
  • shorter recoveries
  • faster return to normal daily activities 
  • in many cases, better clinical outcomes

Learn more about the da Vinci surgical system 

Procedures performed at AU Health, using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, include:

Gynecology and Urogynecology

A robotic hysterectomy can be done if you suffer from:

  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Menstrual pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine prolapse

Simple hysterectomy

During a simple procedure, the surgeon inserts tiny instruments and a camera through small incisions in the abdomen and removes the uterus through the vagina. A bilateral salpingo oophorectomy may also be performed at that time to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Radical Hysterectomy

In the case of radical hysterectomy, the uterus, surrounding tissue, cervix and top part of the vagina are also removed. These types of hysterectomies are usually performed to treat gynecological cancers.

Find out more about hysterectomies

Surgery to treat uterine fibroids, you may be a candidate for a new procedure called da Vinci Myomectomy.

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when an organ in the pelvis, or the top portion of the vagina known as the vaginal vault, drops and protrudes through the vagina. This condition may cause embarrassing urinary incontinence, vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and problems with bowel movements.

If you have this condition, you may be a candidate. This procedure uses mesh to hold the vaginal vault in the correct anatomical position.

Benefits

Robotic technology lets trained surgeons perform the robotic procedure through a series of small incisions. Our medical staff includes a board certified urogynecologist who has performed more of these surgeries than any other physician in the Augusta area.

If you suffer from stress incontinence—or urinary leakage due to stress on the urinary tract—you know how embarrassing and disruptive that can be.

But you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure known as a robotic urethropexy, also known as Burch procedure. The is performed by highly trained urogynecologists and uses no mesh slings or foreign objects to support the urethra.

Gynecologic Cancer

The surgical removal of one or more of the ovaries and fallopian tubes can be used to treat a range of gynecologic conditions, including benign or malignant ovarian masses and endometrial cancer.

A robotic Salpingo-oophorectomy can also be used to reduce the risk of patients at high risk of endometrial or ovarian/fallopian tube cancer. If needed, a frozen section of the tissue will be sent to a pathologist while the patient is under anesthesia to determine if a mass is benign or malignant and to help with staging.

The surgeon inserts small instruments and a camera through keyhole incisions in the abdomen. He or she detaches the ovaries and fallopian tubes and removes them from the body.

If only one ovary and fallopian tube are diseased, the other will be left intact, preserving the patient’s ability to become pregnant. In other cases, however, both ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed in a bilateral surgery.

The robotic exploratory laparotomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used for diagnosing and staging early ovarian cancer.

In patients who have already been diagnosed with an early ovarian cancer, the procedure can also be used for completing a staging procedure.

The surgeon inserts small instruments and a camera through keyhole incisions in the abdomen and removes a tissue sample for a pathologist to examine. If cancer is present, the surgeon removes the cancerous tissue.

The procedure also lets the surgeon look within the abdomen to see if the cancer has spread to other organs.

Our gyn cancer treatment team also uses innovative radiation therapies to target gynecologic cancer cells, while sparing healthy tissues and organs.

One such therapy is robotic Syed implants, a procedure that is performed by a gyn oncologist working with a radiation oncologist.

Using tiny instruments and a camera inserted into the abdomen through keyhole incisions, the gyn-oncologist inserts a temporary mesh sling into the abdomen and lifts the organs and tissue that do not need to be radiated.

A radiation oncologist then carefully inserts catheters through which tiny radiation seeds are positioned near the tumor. The seeds deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

Head and Neck 

Traditional surgery for tumors of the mouth and throat require a large incision so the surgeon's hands can fit inside the patient's throat and oral cavity.

But skilled otolaryngologists at Augusta University Medical Center offer a much less invasive solution that does not require an incision.

The robotic arms and camera of the surgical system are positioned in the oral cavity, allowing the surgical movement to take place within the oral cavity. The surgeon then has a close-up high definition view of the mouth and throat area as they guides the robotic instruments.

Avoid neck scars with robotic facelift thyroidectomy.

The procedure was pioneered by David Terris, MD, a surgeon who serves as the co-director of Augusta University's Thyroid/Parathyroid Center. We are a referral center for patients throughout Georgia, South Carolina, the Southeast and beyond.

Urology/urologic oncology

If you have tumors of the adrenal glands, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive robotic adrenalectomy, or removal of the affected glands.

If you have muscle-invasive or aggressive bladder cancer, you may be a candidate for a type of minimally invasive surgery known as radical cystectomy, or the surgical removal of the entire bladder plus the regional lymph nodes.

The Robotic Surgical System allows surgeons to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform more precise procedures. This is important for prostate surgery because the prostate gland is tightly confined and surrounded by nerves that affect urinary control and sexual function. By sparing surrounding nerves, robotic surgery may enhance both your recovery and clinical outcome.

A percentage of men who have radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer may experience a recurrence of cancer. If the cancer is limited to the prostate, he may be a candidate for a minimally invasive surgery known as robotic salvage prostatectomy, only a few physicians in the nation perform this procedure, AU Health has Dr. Rabii Madi, MD, who can perform this procedure.

Retroperitoneal fibrosis (RPF) is an autoimmune disease that can cause scar tissue to grow around the ureter, blocking the flow of urine and causing it to back up into the kidneys.

Fortunately, these blockages can often be removed through a minimally invasive procedure known as robotic ureterolysis with omental wrap.

During the procedure, the surgeon inserts small instruments and a camera through keyhole incisions in the abdomen and carefully cuts through the scar tissue to release the ureter.

The surgeon then takes a part of the omentum, or layer of fat that overlies the bowels, and wraps it around the ureter. This wrap increases blood flow to the ureter and forms a protective layer to protect the ureter from new scar tissue.

In a healthy urinary tract, urine drains from the kidney into the ureter and down into the bladder. But blockages can occur in the uretero pelvic junction (UPJ), where the kidney meets the ureter.

These blockages can often be removed robotically through a small incisions. The urinary tract is then reconstructed to repair any damage caused by the buildup in fluid pressure and prevent recurrent obstructions. Kidney stones may also be removed, and a stent is placed to help with healing. The stent is removed several weeks later in a physician’s office.

Transitional cell cancer (TCC) of the upper urinary tract is a cancerous growth in the lining of the urinary tract that can occur in the kidney, ureter or bladder. If you have this condition, you may be a candidate for a type of minimally invasive surgery known as robotic nephroureterectomy, or the surgical removal of the kidney and ureter. 

If you have kidney cancer or benign kidney tumors, you may be a candidate for a type of minimally invasive surgery known as robotic partial or radical nephrectomy, or the surgical removal of all or part of one or both kidneys.

During this procedure, the surgeon fills the patient’s abdomen with gas, inserts small instruments and a camera through key hole incisions in the abdomen and removes the tumor or entire kidney through one of the incisions.

 

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