Time Waits For No Woman (Or Man), Or Colon And Rectal Surgeon
Time does not stand still. Innovation and progress march on. Mankind is about pushing forward the frontiers of our knowledge and abilities. Always forward. To stand still is to go backwards. The craft of surgery and colon and rectal surgery always tries to move forward.
Often however, it is difficult to know if an idea is an advance, an evolutionary improvement, or simply a side distraction. And so it is with the surgical robot. Does it help the patient and the surgeon, or is it a gimmick that adds expense to our already burgeoning costs of healthcare?
Meet da Vinci® The Colorectal Robot.
The da Vinci® robot is a surgical tool which is composed of an advanced optic system and 3 arms to hold surgical instruments. There is a console nearby in the operating room where the surgeon sits and controls each arm. The robot is considered a slave robot in that it makes no movements that are not under the direct control of the surgeon. The current model of surgical robot is the da Vinci Si®
The robot has been in use since the early 2000’s and has evolved into frequent use in prostate operations and in gynecological operations. Its use is an offshoot of laparoscopic surgery, whereby through the use of very small incisions, instruments can be inserted into a body cavity and disease can be removed or repaired. The instruments in use in robot-assisted surgery are a great step forward over laparoscopic procedures in that the robotic instruments have flexible “wrists” (also called endo-wrists) that can move in many positions and allow access to otherwise difficult-to-reach areas.
The Colorectal Robot.
A great advance has come in the field of colon and rectal surgery, especially in Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. Colorectal surgeons, also known as proctologists, have been able to adapt robotic techniques and tools for use in colon operations. When compared with open operations, recovery time is faster, time away from the activities of daily life is lessened and access to areas deep in the pelvis has been made easier through the use of advanced, 3-dimensional cameras. Visualization of the pelvic nerves, those nerves that control sexual functioning and continence (the ability to control bowel movements and urine) is remarkably clear, allowing for nerve-sparing operations.
But, is all of this an advance? Most likely, the answer is a resounding yes, for reasons of improved visualization and ease of access. It seems as if colon and rectal cancers, selected cases of diverticulitis and rectal prolapse (in which the rectum actually protrudes from the anus) are all more easily treatable using robotic techniques. A greater advance is the anticipation of even better technology arising as we push forward in our never-ending quest for improvement.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The board certified surgeons at Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are trained and certified in the use of the surgical robot at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. They are on the forefront of using this innovative and exciting technology in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. An appointment with any of the surgeons will allow you to be evaluated and will allow you to ask about whether you are a candidate of robotic colorectal surgery. (310)273-2310