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Doug Harris
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Trinitas Announces Metro Area's First Robotic Bariatric Surgery Program
Potential Life-Saver for Largest Gastric Bypass Candidates

Trinitas Regional Medical Center recently performed its first robot-assisted bariatric surgery procedure using the da Vinci surgical system, making it the first medical center in the metropolitan area to offer this type of surgery. The robot-assisted procedure provides an option for patients who up to this time have been too obese to undergo a gastric bypass procedure. Through the use of the da Vinci surgical system, surgeons are able to perform the surgery without standing directly over the patient but instead guide the movement of precise surgical instruments from a console elsewhere in the operating suite.

Dr. Glenn Forrester, head of the Bariatric surgery program at Trinitas, explains: "The da Vinci extends the reach of surgeons during delicate laparoscopic procedures with robotic 'hands' which reproduce the fine movements of their fingers with incredible precision. At the same time, surgeons also control a tiny camera which enhances their vision with a hi-definition 3-D image."

Of the three types of bariatric surgeries that can be performed robotically (gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding), the bypass lends itself especially well to the da Vinci system. "Gastric bypass requires the most fine suturing," Dr. Forrester explains. "The freedom of movement afforded by the da Vinci robot results in more exact placement of the sutures."

Instead of standing over the patient, da Vinci surgeons are seated comfortably a few feet away. There is less stress on the doctor, and less torque on the instruments. As a result, gastric bypasses can now be performed on patients who previously might have been deemed too obese for the procedure.

"This program establishes Trinitas as a Center of Excellence for Robotic Surgery," says Gary S. Horan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trinitas. "It will draw patients from all over the region, as well as many from outside the region. Trinitas also becomes the place that bariatric surgeons will come to do their training."

Prior to the launch of the Robotic Bariatric Surgery program at Trinitas, the nearest facility where the da Vinci system was used for bariatric procedures was in Maine which is where the Trinitas surgical team underwent training. Now, hospitals in the region will be able to train their surgeons closer to home. According to Dr. Forrester, robotic bariatric surgical training will typically involve four days of training and observing at Trinitas, followed by between five and 15 supervised procedures.

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Trinitas Regional Medical Center


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