Local News

More Robotics Being Used In Operating Rooms To Handle Surgeries

Posted December 10, 2003

— Robotics are probably one of the most exciting advances right now in surgery and more patients are taking notice.

When you work in the information technology department, the newer your technology is the better. Carroll Berkley figured the same was true when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is why he had no problem being the first patient at Duke to have robotic prostate surgery.

"I'm always open to new technology, new ways of doing things," he said. "I was excited about having this new procedure done."

A new procedure called DaVinci is considered a breakthrough in robotic surgery.

"It clearly is a different experience for the surgeon. We're so used to being up at the bedside," said Duke surgeon Dr. David Albala.

Instead, Albala sits several feet away at a computer console. When he moves his hands, the robot at the operating table mimics his every move, carefully removing the prostate. Even though Dr. Albala's farther away, when it comes to precision, he has never been closer.

"It increases our visualization significantly," Albala said.

Berkley's fascination with new technology paid off. Six weeks after surgery, he is back at work on his computers. He said he is doing what he loves instead of worrying about cancer.

"Back to work, back to daily activities I was normally doing in the past just like it had never happened," Berkley said.

Not all prostate cancer patients are candidates for robotic surgery. It all depends on the location, size, and aggressiveness of the tumor.


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