Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
15:45 PM

LVHN First in Region to Use New da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical Robot

Surgeons at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) are the first in the region to perform minimally invasive procedures using the Intuitive Surgical, Inc. da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System, a technological leap forward in replacing large-incision abdominal surgeries (open surgery) with a minimally invasive approach.

The da Vinci Xi System has broader capabilities than prior generations of the da Vinci System. It can be used across a wide spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for surgery to be performed seamlessly in any region of the abdomen. At LVHN, surgeons performed the initial three procedures in bariatrics, urologic oncology and gynecologic oncology.

“Robotics and computer-assisted surgery allows our team to offer personalized medicine, and personalized surgery – with pinpoint precision during surgery,” says Martin Martino, MD, LVHN gynecologic oncology.

For more than a decade, da Vinci Surgical Systems have provided patients with a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery that reduces many of the costs and complications associated with open procedures. LVHN started the program in 2008, and now has eight da Vinci robots which are located at five of its network hospitals. To date, the robotics team has completed over 10,000 robotic procedures, the largest and most experienced team in the region. Intuitive Surgical designed the new da Vinci Xi System with the goal of further advancing the technology used in minimally invasive surgery for complex diseases and conditions in gynecology, urology, thoracic, cardiac and general surgery.

The da Vinci instruments have mechanical wrists that bend and rotate to mimic the movements of the human wrist – allowing your surgeon to make small, precise movements inside the body. And, da Vinci software can minimize the effects of a surgeon’s hand tremors on instrument movements. Studies of da Vinci Surgery have shown the following benefits in comparison to open surgery: a shorter hospital stay; less blood loss; fewer complications; less need for narcotic pain medicine; a faster recovery; and smaller incisions associated with minimal scarring.

Esther Kerr is convinced. The 75-year-old Pennsburg woman was the first gynecologic oncology patient treated at LVHN with the new da Vinci Xi System robot on July 18, her birthday, by Martino. She was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Martino and his team were able to perform a minimally invasive robotic hysterectomy with staging completed through a new procedure known as sentinel lymphatic mapping. To do this, they used new Firefly technology embedded on the robot, which reduced the risk of surgical complications such as lymphedema. Kerr says based on what she had heard and feared, she anticipated being in excruciating pain following the procedure. However that didn’t happen and she felt relatively pain-free with no need for potent medications.

“I’m ecstatic,” she says. “I can’t wait to get back to work.” Kerr hopes to return to her part-time job at a grocery store bakery in Telford soon. "Our goal is to develop technology that enhances surgical performance," says Gary Guthart, Intuitive Surgical President and Chief Executive Officer. "The da Vinci Xi System's new overhead architecture means that multi-quadrant surgery can be performed without repositioning the system, an innovation long sought by surgeons who perform complex procedures. We strive to provide the most advanced, least invasive option for surgery, and we are working hard to make minimally invasive surgery the standard of care." By enabling efficient access throughout the abdomen and chest, the da Vinci Xi System expands upon core da Vinci System features, including wristed instruments, 3D-HD visualization, intuitive motion, and an ergonomic design. As with all da Vinci Surgical Systems, the da Vinci Xi System's immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient. For more information about the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, visit intuitivesurgical.com.

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 18 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook and Twitter.