Bon Secours doctors performing hundreds of robotic surgeries, say it’s transforming medicine

Bon Secours doctors say robotic surgery helping advance medicine
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The beeping and even voice of the Da Vinci surgical system sounds like a video game. But the 7 foot, 1200 lb device is much more advanced. It’s used to assist doctors during surgery.

“A gastric bypass that used to take me three hours now takes me an hour,” Bon Secours Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez said. “Most of my patients are going home the next day.”

It doesn’t take as long because this robot can make small, precise incisions. In the past doctors would use handheld instruments. Dr. Hernandez says unlike the human wrist that can only turn 180 degrees, a robot can turn 360.

“In order to put the instrument up and down and move it around we could cause abdominal wall trauma,” Hernandez said. “[The robot] has really helped us reduce the amount of post complications the patient could have”

The goal is faster operation times, shorter recovery and less complications, but is it safe?

“Everything is controlled right here,” Hernandez said. “We move the arms and are able to get closer and further with the camera. It cannot in any way do surgery on its own.”

Surgeons use a console to control the arms and movements of the robot. Most surgeons are being trained on these devices during residency.

“Here [at Bon Secours] I have over 300 surgeries and before that, if I count the ones I did during training I definitely have over 600 surgeries,” Hernandez said.

While these devices may move and even operate better than humans Dr. Hernandez says they’re not replacing doctors. Instead, they are giving them tools to advance medicine.

“It has come to revolutionize what we do every day,” Hernandez said.

The makers of the Da Vinci surgical system say it can be used for an array of surgeries including abdominal, head and cardiac.