Last week, two Vancouver Clinic surgeons worked with a team to perform robotic hernia and hysterectomy surgeries.
What makes the surgeries at Vancouver Clinic noteworthy is not the robot itself, but that the surgeries were performed in the new Vancouver Clinic Surgery Center — separate from a hospital. These were the first robotic surgeries in a standalone ambulatory surgery center in the greater Pacific Northwest, according to a press release.
“Vancouver Clinic joins a handful of surgery centers across the country who can offer this type of outpatient procedure,” Dr. Jacob Calvert said in the release. “I am excited to be part of the team leading surgical care forward in our region.”
On March 13, Dr. Leslie Disher performed a hernia surgery using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical system. On March 15, Calvert performed three hysterectomies with the machine.
The da Vinci Robotic Surgical system allows the surgeons to use small tools to access difficult to reach regions of the body without creating a large incision, according to the release.
During a procedure using the robotic system, the surgeon uses master controls at the surgeon console to direct the instruments, allowing for greater precision, according to UCLA Health. The surgeon is in control of the robot the entire time, but the computer works to translate the surgeon’s movements to direct the instrument.
The patients were all discharged the same day as the surgeries, able to recover at home with check-in calls from their care teams, according to Calvert.
The da Vinci Robotic Surgical system will aid in many minimally invasive surgeries to come.
“This technology is exciting for us to be able to share with our patients at Vancouver Clinic,” Disher said in the release. “A wide variety of surgeries — including inguinal hernias, umbilical and ventral hernias, and cholecystectomies — can be performed in our surgery center now that we have the robotic platform. All of these robotic surgeries would have been done at the hospital before now.”
Outpatient surgery decreases the cost of the surgery. Calvert is hopeful it will lead to a new model of streamlined care.
“Yes it’s great to have a robot in our surgery center, but I am probably more excited to have this outpatient hysterectomy pathway,” Calvert said. “When you combine better care that costs less, this is totally the best thing for our region.”
Calvert described the outpatient hysterectomy pathway as a model of care that emphasizes the importance of creating a familiarity with the surgery team.
This means that a nurse educator will meet with the patient two weeks prior to the surgery to answer any initial questions. That same nurse will then be there on the day of surgery and check in a few times with the patient in the days following the surgery.
“This is just the beginning of something that we will be able to offer to more and more patients,” Calvert said. “This just fits so well with what is going to help out our entire country — we need to find a way to do things that costs less.”
Currently, the new Vancouver Clinic Surgery Center is open for limited procedures, with plans to fully open this May. For more information about the center visit tvc.org/services/ambulatory-surgery-center/.