Robert J. Dole Veterans Medical Center Unveils First Robot-Assisted Surgery

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Robert J. Dole Veterans Medical Center unveiled its first robotic assistant for surgeries on Monday morning.

Robot-assisted surgeries allow medical staff to provide veterans with safer procedures, shorter hospital stays, less post-operative pain, and reduced use of pain relievers, all while reducing the rate of complications.

One of the surgeries performed with the robotic assistant is laparoscopic surgery.

According to Don Vasquez, the general surgeon at VA Medical Center, laparoscopic surgery is surgery that is done through small incisions. The robotic assistant will advance this type of surgery as well as several previously unavailable improvements, such as accuracy and visualization. In addition, the surgeon controls the camera at all times.

Vasquez says the surgery is constantly improving. As for the robotic assistant, it does nothing on its own. It is still laparoscopic surgery, but it increases actions and visualization.

“It allows a surgeon to do some things that are just a little harder to do with the standard laparoscopic approach,” Vasquez said.

According to Vasquez, almost everything done laparoscopically these days is tried robotic. However, not all surgical cases can be performed robotically; some still need to be done with open surgery. Patients may also lack qualification, but this is a discussion to be had between the patient and their surgeon.

Specific training is required in the use of the robotic assistant and supervision when the time comes to use the machine for surgery.

Vasquez demonstrated the use of the robotic assistant for KSN.

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