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Sharp Health News

Robotic surgery: Less pain, quick recovery, new life (video)

Sept. 7, 2022

Robotic surgery has improved the surgical options for patients in San Diego, whether they require joint replacement or have a condition involving their abdomen or chest. Surgeons with Sharp HealthCare, a leader in the technology, are thrilled to find themselves practicing at an exciting time in medicine. They can offer their patients improved treatments with faster recovery and better outcomes.

“It's very gratifying as a surgeon to be part of a field of surgery that is rapidly evolving for the benefit of patients,” says Dr. David Yu Greenblatt, a general surgeon with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group who performs robotic surgery at Sharp Coronado Hospital, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Outpatient Pavilion. "Every year the technology improves, with better outcomes for patients.”

Minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci® surgical system, made right here in California, has become widely adopted by Sharp surgeons for a variety of procedures, including:

  • Hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the womb (uterus)
  • Prostatectomy, surgery to remove part or all of the prostate gland
  • Hernia repair
  • Gallbladder surgery
  • Surgery to treat colon cancer and many other types of cancer
  • Complex heart and lung operations

Exciting new technology, improved quality of life, better outcomes
In robotic surgery, the surgeon controls every movement and nothing is done automatically by the robot. Compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery — surgery performed using small incisions with the aid of a camera — the instruments used in robotic surgery have additional joints. This gives the surgeon amazing dexterity and control, which is particularly helpful when doing delicate suturing.

The robotic camera has two lenses which allow the surgeon to see the anatomy in fine detail and in 3D. An exciting new technology, "Firefly" fluorescence imaging, allows surgeons to visualize important structures, such as bile ducts and blood vessels, during the operation, which can reduce the risk of surgical complications. As with laparoscopic surgery, robotic operations are done via small incisions, which means less pain, fewer wound infections and faster recovery.

Living with chronic pain— whether it’s arthritis-related joint pain, uterine fibroids, gallstone pain or hernia pain — can be debilitating. It can cause patients to stay on the sidelines instead of fully engaging in activities that bring them joy, Dr. Greenblatt says. He and his colleagues are proud to be able to relieve patients’ pain and improve their quality of life.

“When people of think of surgery, they often associate it with serious pain,” Dr. Greenblatt says. “However, with robotic surgery, we no longer need to make big, painful incisions.”

According to Dr. Greenblatt, after many operations, such as hernia repair and gallbladder surgery, patients go home the same day and have minimal discomfort, avoiding the need to take any opioid pain meds. “And they are back to enjoying their full and active lives within a few days," he says.

Learn more about robotic surgery at Sharp, and view the video above to see how it is changing patient lives for the better.

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