David Grantham, M.D.
PINEHURST – Of the 700,000 or so people who will have their gallbladder removed in the United States this year, more than 90 percent will have laparoscopic surgery, a technique that involves several tiny incisions instead of the conventional long, open cut.
At FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, patients having their gallbladder removed now have another option in robot-assisted surgery, a technology that offers the same benefits of laparoscopy but with even more surgical precision.
Unlike traditional laparoscopy, “The robot allows you to have a wristed-type movement like a natural motion on the inside of the body,” says David Grantham, M.D., a general and bariatric surgeon with Moore Regional and Pinehurst Surgical.
With robot-assisted surgery, the surgeon sits at a console a few feet away from the patient and guides the movement of surgical instruments at the end of the robot’s arms. Despite the intimidating presence of the equipment, the surgeon is completely in charge, however.
“It’s a misconception that the robot is going to do anything independently,” Dr. Grantham says. “There is no independent action from the robot. The surgeon controls every aspect of the operation.”
Moore Regional’s da Vinci Si is a third-generation robotic surgical system that features three-dimensional high-definition vision of the surgical area with up to 10 times the magnification of earlier technology. Benefits of robotic surgery include less pain, blood loss and scarring and shorter hospital stays and recovery times.
Robotic surgery was introduced at Moore Regional in early 2006 with the radical prostatectomies (prostate removals) performed by urologists Robert Chamberlain, M.D., and Greg Griewe, M.D. A year later, Walter Fasolak, D.O., and Stephen Szabo, M.D., added gynecological procedures to the hospital’s list of robotic surgical resources.
The recent addition of robotic cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery) opens the door to even greater robotic use – from hernia repair and bowel resection to procedures involving solid organs such as the adrenal gland, pancreas, liver and spleen. The anticipated progression to single-incision robotic surgery (accomplished by way of one tiny incision in the patient’s navel) offers the additional cosmetic benefit of a procedure that is essentially scarless with even less pain and an even lower risk of complication.
“Robotics are here to stay and have a place in general surgery,” says Dr. Grantham.
For more information on robotic surgery at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, call (800) 213-3284.