An East Mesa hospital invested over $1 million in a new robotic surgery program promising minimally invasive alternatives to many complex surgical procedures.
Mountain Vista Medical Center acquired the $1.2 million da Vinci X Surgical System in November and since performed roughly 30 procedures a month with the new system, said Lillian Goyette, surgery director at the hospital.
“It’s a more sophisticated way of doing surgeries. It decreases pain; it decreases length of stay. Patients are able to come home within 24 to 48 hours, over three to five days instead,” Goyette said.
The da Vinci X Surgical System is most often used for gynecological procedures, such as hysterectomies or myomectomies, but is also used in bariatric and herniation and other general procedures.
The device is operated by a trained surgeon who is in complete control throughout the procedure.
As a surgeon looks through a console located near the patient, he or she can magnify their view and perform minutely precise incisions and procedures, with many surgeries often only taking a few hours.
As the da Vinci system is able to make such small incisions, patients are left with minimal scarring and shorter recovery time.
“Otherwise, if they didn’t have this kind of surgery, they would have a big huge scar. They have to open the patient way up, they got to cut into the muscle, they got to cut into everything. So it’s what causes patients to have a lot of pain,” Goyette said.
“If you do it robotically, you’ve got three to four small incisions, no bigger than 10 millimeters so it’s not much bigger than the size of my finger,” she added.
The da Vinci systems were developed in the late 1990s, Goyette said, adding, “Mostly it started out with just urologists just doing prostatectomies and then they found if they could do a prostatectomy and save the patient time, it would be good for gynecological cancerous cases.”
Goyette said Mountain Vista had an older model da Vinci machine they used for several years before it became inoperable.
“Our old machine was what they call end of life, which means the company can’t support it anymore and when they get to end of life, things start breaking down,” Goyette said.
The hospital began to discuss whether or not to continue to purchase another da Vinci system, Goyette said, which led to her developing a plan to grow the program.
“I got a robotics program from the ground up going by assigning a particular room with its own block time and assigning block time to the surgeons. I talked with my CMO, and I said if we can do at least 20 a month, then we can take it into consideration,” Goyette explained.
As more doctors became trained to use the da Vinci system, and as more and more procedures were performed, Mountain Vista eventually acquired the new system.
Dr. Manisha Purohit, the Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates OB/GYN, has been using different forms of the da Vinci Surgical System since 2003, when she was trained in Cleveland, Ohio.
“The magnification on the camera is just amazing. The areas you would not be able to see, you will be able to see this better. I have taken out almost 18-centimeter masses, 20-centimeter uteruses, impossible to even imagine,” Purohit said.
“I get very excited when it comes to the benefits I have seen over the years. I mean, it’s amazing,” Purohit added.
Purohit said one of the most significant benefits of the da Vinci system is patients suffer from less post-operative pain and less opioid pain medication is needed to be prescribed.
“Because of the better pain control, they heal fast, so again, they’re not using too much narcotics. The whole opioid crisis came with all these big incisions we used to give them,” Purohit said.
“Maybe they go home with like three or four tablets, literally you’re cutting down from 20 to 30 prescriptions of narcotics.”
Although the da Vinci systems are mostly used to gynecological and other related procedures, it can be used for a wide array of general procedures as well.
“They can use it for almost anything. I did some robotic thyroidectomies so the patients wouldn’t have any scars on their neck,” Goyette said.
Even though the hospital has only had the da Vinci X Surgical System for a few months, the number of surgeries performed with it has continued to increase.
Both Goyette and Purohit hope to see the program continue to grow and said they hope to one day acquire a second da Vinci system.
“I want to grow the program, and I’d like to get a second robot in here. So, we can do that many more surgeries, which means it’ll improve on patient satisfaction and patient recovery,” Goyette said.