In the 1960’s General Motors first introduced robots in its automobile plants to increase efficiencies and help take on the more dangerous jobs, like welding. In the past 60 years, robots have come a long way and are now ingrained in our everyday lives, playing a large role in manufacturing, service, military tactics, exploration, and even health care.
McLaren Greater Lansing has invested in state-of-the-art surgical equipment with its new hospital, including multiple Intuitive Da Vinci Xi surgical robots, which are the most advanced surgical robots in the market.
The robotic system is operated by a trained surgeon, who controls the movements of the robotic arms and instruments through a computer console. Nicholas St.Hilaire, DO, general surgeon at McLaren Greater Lansing, is one of the many robotic-trained surgeons on staff and just celebrated performing his 1,000th robotic-assisted surgery at the hospital.
“I perform robotic-assisted surgery on patients who need hernia repairs, colon resections, and gallbladder removals,” said Dr. St.Hilaire. “I find that in general my patients have less pain post robotic-assisted surgery and quicker recovery in general with minimally invasive surgery.”
Robotic surgeries can involve smaller incisions than open surgery, because the robotic arms are much smaller than human hands, which can lead to less bleeding, scarring, and pain for the patient. Robotic systems can make more precise movements, which can be especially helpful in delicate or complex surgeries.
“A patient who needs a colectomy is a great candidate for robotic-assisted surgery because I am able to perform it using intracorporeal osmosis, which means I am able to complete the surgery inside the belly without needing to take a part of the colon out of the abdomen,” said Dr. St.Hilaire. “The result is fewer incisions, and therefore scars, which typically leads to less recovery time.”
While robotic-assisted surgery has many potential benefits, it may not be suitable for all patients or all types of surgery. It’s important to discuss with your surgeon if it would be the right approach for you.
“I was trained on robotics during my residency, more than eight years ago, and since that time the technology and training have only gotten better,” said Dr. St.Hilaire. “I don’t see robots going anywhere; in fact, I think they will only become more common in health care.”
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