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Robotic Surgery

State-of-the-art robotic technology allows the surgeon’s hands to make the precise movement of micro-instruments through small surgical incisions.

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The robotic surgical system gives surgeons an alternative to traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy by putting a surgeon’s hands at the controls of a state-of-the-art robotic system that gives them unmatched precision, even in the most complex and delicate procedures.

The system cannot be programmed or make decisions on its own. Every surgical maneuver is performed with direct input from the surgeon.

Robot-assisted surgery is one of the most effective, least invasive surgical treatments available. With the assistance of the robotic surgical system, surgeons can operate using only 1 or 2 centimeter incisions, while maintaining greater precision and control than ever before.

If your physician recommends surgery as part of treatment, ask if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive approach like robotic surgery. 


Benefits of robotic surgery may include:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • A shorter recovery time
  • A faster return to normal daily activities
  • And in many cases, better clinical outcomes


The following specialties and surgeons perform robot-assisted surgery at FirstHealth: 


General Surgery

General surgeons can use robot-assisted surgery to perform the following surgeries:

  • Ventral hernia
Inguinal hernia
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Gallbladder (including a virtually scarless single-site incision approach)
  • Bowel Resection / Colon-Rectal
  • Anti-reflux

Pinehurst Surgical

5 FirstVillage Drive.

Pinehurst, NC 28374

(910) 295-0889

David Grantham, M.D.

Reid C. Vegeler, M.D.

Raymond G. Washington, M.D.


Gynecologic Oncology

A gynecological oncology surgeon uses robot-assisted surgery for:

  • Evaluation and staging of tubo/ovarian malignancies
  • Uterine malignancies
  • Adnexal and pelvic masses
  • Diagnosis of lymphadenopathy
  • Familial and hereditary cancers including BRACA Syndromes and Lynch 2 Syndromes
  • Complex gynecologic conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids


FirstHealth Gynecologic Oncology

located in FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center

220 Page Road North

Pinehurst, NC 28374

(910) 715-8684

Michael J. Sundborg, M.D.


 Gynecological surgeons use the robot-assisted surgery for:

  • Sacrocolpopexy for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse
  • Evaluation and treatment of tubo/ovarian masses
  • Hysterectomy for benign or early uterine cancer disease (including a virtually scarless single-site incision approach)
  • Treatment of endometriosis
  • Evaluation of pelvic or abdominal masses
  • Pelvic reconstruction
  • Removal of uterine fibroids 

Southern Pines Women’s Health Center, a FirstHealth Clinic

145 Applecross Road

Southern Pines, NC 28387

(910) 692-7928

Walter S. Fasolak, D.O.


Pinehurst Surgical

5 FirstVillage Drive

Pinehurst, NC 28374

(910) 295-0290

Shayna S. Jones, M.D.

Lissette Machin, M.D.

Taylor S. McCauley, M.D.

Stephen A. Szabo, M.D


Thoracic Surgery

Robot-assisted surgery is used by cardiovascular & thoracic surgeons for Lobectomy.

Lobectomy is the surgical removal of one of the lobes of the lung, most often to treat cancer. 

Robotic thoracic surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia.  The surgeon makes four small incisions on the patient's side and inserts special surgical instruments and a scope with a tiny video camera at the end.  The instruments are connected to the arms of the daVinci Xi Robot. 

The robot cannot move itself.  The surgeon sits at a nearby console and controls all of the Robot's movements while watching the progress on a three-dimensional video monitor.  Because the daVinci Xi Robot has "wristed" instruments that move as the surgeon moves his or her fingers, hands, and wrists, the surgeon has excellent dexterity, precision, and control. 

The surgeon removes the affected lobe of the lung and nearby lymph nodes, and removes them through one of the incisions.  The surgical instruments are them removed and the incisions are closed with absorbable sutures.

How Robotic Lobectomy Compares to Other Procedures

For many years, an operation for lung cancer involved open surgery, which required a large incision and spreading of the ribs to allow access to the lung.

Then a newer procedures was introduces call VATS lobectomy, a type of minimally invasive lung cancer surgery.  Performed through small incisions without the need to spread the ribs, VATS lobectomy offered less pain, shorter hospital stays, and a faster recovery.

With VATS, the instruments inserted through the incisions are rigid without the same dexterity and the images projected by the camera used for the procedure are only two-dimensional instead of three-dimensional.

FirstHealth surgeons have found the the daVinci Xi Robot has distinct advantages over VATS in performing lobectomies including surgical instruments that are more precise with a wider range of motion and better visibility with three dimensional imaging.

Benefits of Robotic Lobectomy

  • Smaller incisions.  This means the patient can recover more quickly and get back to their daily activities sooner
  • Less pain compared to standard incisions.  The chest wall is sensitive and surgery can aggravate the nerves within it, but robotic procedures can be done with smaller incisions, in the lower part of the chest where the space between the ribs is greater.
  • Quicker return home.
  • Better ability to determine if cancer has spread.  Robotic lobectomy allows for more careful and thorough dissection of the lymph nodes, where lung cancer might be hiding.  Knowing if cancer is present in the lymph nodes helps determine the stage of the cancer and whether additional therapy is warranted.  If lymph nodes are involved additional chemotherapy can significantly improve survival so removal of lymph node and accuracy of stage is critically important.  The Xi Robot facilitates a meticulous and thorough dissection of each patient's lymph nodes.

FirstHealth Cardiovascular & Thoracic Center

located in Reid Heart Center

120 Page Road

Pinehurst, NC 28374

(910) 715-4111 or (877) 715-4111

Peter I. Ellman, M.D., FACS

William C. Kitchens, M.D.



Surgeons perform the following robot-assisted urologic surgeries:

  • Prostatectomy
  • Nephrectomy
  • Pyeloplasty
  • Partial Nephrectomy
  • Adrenalectomy

Pinehurst Surgical

5 FirstVillage Drive.

Pinehurst, NC 28374

(910) 215-2528 

Robert J. Chamberlain Jr., M.D.

Greg L. Griewe, M.D.

John R. Michalak. M.D.



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