Samaritan to host free hernia screening, technology demonstration

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WATERTOWN — Samaritan’s surgical robot will demonstrate its skills alongside the hospital’s free hernia screenings on Dec. 9.

The purpose of the event is not just rooting out undiagnosed hernias — symptoms of which include nausea, groin pain, or a bulge in the lower abdomen — but to promote one of the treatment options available.

Hernia surgeries are among the procedures most easily undertaken and benefitted by the use of the daVinci surgical system.

“Many people may walk around for years with a hernia and may either not know it or not want to have it evaluated,” Special Teams Coordinator Sara Cummings said in a statement.

The daVinci robot was purchased in 2012 for $2 million as part of the hospital’s plan to rebuild its urology program.

According to the hospital, the system allows the physician to perform more precise surgery with smaller incisions, less bleeding and a shorter healing time. Not all cases in urology, gynecology, general, thoracic or otolaryngology surgeries will require, or be eligible for, assistance of the daVinci system.

“Many hernia repair surgeries today can be done robotically, and we have been using the daVinci for several years,” Ms. Cummings continued. “By utilizing the daVinci robot, our surgeons have greater dexterity and range of motion. Oftentimes, that means a faster recovery and less pain for the patient.”

The system is made up of a control console linked by computer to the device’s four arms, one for optics and three others that move surgical instruments. A surgeon inserts access ports into the abdomen or chest through one or more small incisions. The operating room team views the procedure on high-definition monitors as the physician’s fingers manipulate the delicate control arms at the control console, movements that are transmitted to the robot arms to maneuver surgical instruments inside the patient’s body.

The surgeon does procedures while sitting at a console and puts his or her head into a vision camera to obtain a three-dimensional image. Dr. Rodriguez, Samaritan’s chief of robotics and minimally invasive surgery, said that image is 15 times better than what physicians would see with their own eyes.

The screening event will include demonstrations and “test drives” of the system with Samaritan specialists.

Space for this event is limited. To register or request further information, call Samaritan Medical Center Surgery Practice at 315-755-3083.

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