USF Health to train doctors in computer assisted surgery

08/10/09 Seán Kinane
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The University of South Florida College of Medicine soon will begin training doctors from across the southeast in robotic-assisted surgery. The new USF Health da Vinci Center for Computer Assisted Surgery will train up to 600 doctors per year to use robots to perform minimally-invasive surgery.

Two weeks ago, Cheryl Jordan had a minimally-invasive hysterectomy using a surgical system known as the da Vinci Si. Jordan is a doctor from Stuart, FL, who is recovering more quickly than she would have from a more invasive procedure.

Lennox Hoyte performed Jordan’s hysterectomy. He is the Medical director of the new da Vinci Center for Computer Assisted Surgery at USF Health. “The surgery offers the benefits of lower blood loss, shorter recovery period, and a really quicker exit from the hospital," Hoyte said.

Hoyte demonstrated the da Vinci Si by using the robotic-assisted surgical system to peel a red grape. He sat at a console with his head resting over a viewer giving 3-dimensional magnified view of the grape. His hands fit inside instruments that tracked his movements and he used his feet on pedals. Several feet away, four robotic arms responded to Dr. Hoyte’s wrist and finger movements. First he sliced shallow vertical incisions on the grape, then grabbed the peel from the top and pulled sections away from the pulp.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio says she did not have as much success. “I had the pleasure of just operating on a grape earlier. The grape died unfortunately under my less-than-capable hands.”

Life will be better for patients who have this type of minimally-invasive surgery, according to Iorio.

Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and the CEO of USF Health, agrees that patients like Jordan will benefit. “Less risk of infection, less risk of any other complication, less expensive overall, and most importantly for her and her family, back to what she loves to do.”

Klasko says the $4 million USF Health da Vinci Center for Computer Assisted Surgery is a partnership between the university and Intuitive Surgical, the company that builds the robotic surgical systems.

One difference between traditional open surgery and minimally-invasive surgery that doctors can perform with the robotic system is that instead of one long incision, surgeons use specialized slender instruments inserted through one or a number of small incisions. The da Vinci system has a dual console that facilitates hands-on teaching and, according to Klasko, will allow surgeons to collaborate during surgery.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe thinks that USF and the region could benefit economically by becoming a destination for people needing health care.

Intuitive Surgical

USF Health


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