Local News

Robots Continue To Amaze Surgeons, Patients In Operating Room

Posted July 13, 2005 1:56 a.m. EDT

— UNC Hospitals is one of only three sites in the country to use surgical robots to treat cervical cancers in women. There are no studies yet to prove robots are the best way to do hysterectomies, but a UNC surgeon believes he is building a good case for it.

Dr. John Boggess has countless open and laproscopic hysterectomies under his belt, but just a few using the Da Vinci robot. The Da Vinci robot has many selling points for patients as well, which include small incisions, low blood loss and quick recovery.

When Cheryl Seagroves learned she had cervical cancer, she thought of her sister.

"I mean, my sister had a hysterectomy, she was in the hospital, I believe, four to five days with an incision from hip to hip," she said.

Seagroves was one of UNC's first hysterectomy patients using the da Vinci robot.

"I had surgery July 1 on Friday and came home on Saturday," she said.

With laproscopy, a single camera gives the surgeon a flat two dimensional picture. Da Vinci's two cameras show a 3-D image.

"It really does feel like you've put your hands inside and miniaturized yourself," Boggess said.

A heating element cuts through tissue, seals off blood vessels and then removes cancerous organs. Boggess' work, documented on video and proven on patients like Seagroves, may be just the start of da Vinci's domination in more procedures.

"As we learn how to use it, I don't think it's far-fetched to think that traditional laproscopy will be obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years," Boggess said.

The Da Vinci robot has also been used to remove uterine fibroid tumors and endometrial cancer.