It’s not hard to boast about our community, and the surgeons on the medical staff at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano just made it that much easier. On March 31st they performed that hospital’s 1000th robotic surgery, a major milestone for the six year program which started back in November 2011.
Now you may be curious about the role of a surgeon in this particular technique, but don’t let the title fool you. Robotic-assisted cardiac and thoracic surgery combines the fine-tuned skills of our local medical professionals with advanced robotic technology. “Surgeons use minimally invasive techniques, meaning large surgical incisions are not required,” reads a recent press release on the topic. “The technology translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.”
But while the procedure is tremendous in and of itself, patients who choose robotic-assisted surgery reap a variety of unmatched benefits. Just recently, a local student athlete underwent a robotic surgery for mitral valve replacement. While the traditional approach would not have allowed him to withstand direct hits to his chest during sporting events, this approach afforded him the opportunity to not only successfully try out for spring baseball, but return to a limited workout routine after missing a mere three weeks of school.
Cardiovascular surgeon and cardiovascular surgical services vice chair at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Robert L. Smith II, MD, explained the surgery’s unique nature in the aforementioned press release, stating that “The surgeon has a lot more maneuverability with the robot compared to other minimally invasive techniques using long instruments that don’t have wrists.” He goes on to say “there are small instruments at the end of each wrist which provide a much greater degree of freedom when using sutures and other devices around the heart. It’s almost like having the surgeon’s hands in there.”
The robotic surgical systems can assist in performing coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve repair and all thoracic surgical procedures. For more information on robotic-assisted surgery, you can visit The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano’s website here.