Robotic Surgery Revolutionizes Treatment of Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernias

It is no overstatement to say that robotic surgery is revolutionary in our field. It has opened up a whole new door for laparoscopic surgery and takes minimally invasive surgery to a new level.

Robotic surgery offers significant advantages, such as better magnification through use of a 3D camera, better instruments, and more degrees of articulation. It allows the surgeon to sew and operate as if using his own hands but with much smaller instruments that give much more control.

Dr. Roland Weast and I are in the early stages of using robotic surgery, and our colleague Dr. Marcella Greene was recently trained. As of the writing of this article, Dr. Weast and I have completed five robotically assisted microscopic Nissen fundoplications and one adrenal resection. We already see the clear benefits of using this procedure.

One of the Nissen procedures was used to treat a recurrent hiatal hernia. Without the robot, the procedure would have required a thoracotomy – a large chest incision. Thanks to the increased mechanical ability of the robot, we were able to get higher in the patient’s chest and perform the surgery without opening up the chest. By avoiding a thoracotomy, the patient had less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery time.

Other benefits of robotic surgery include:

  • Greater safety. It allows us to place stitches more securely and to place them where we couldn’t otherwise reach, making the repairs more secure.
  • Better vision. We’re able to clearly see the anatomy with 3D vision.
  • Less fatigue. The surgeon is able to sit comfortably while the robot leans over the patient.

We see robotic surgery as a tool that makes the surgery better for the patient and better for the surgeon. We plan to use it for most Nissen fundoplications and for more complex procedures.

Dr. Weast and I are currently accepting patients. If you’re a referring physician or a patient who would like to explore the option of robotic surgery, please to contact Premier’s North Knoxville location.

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