New robotic gallbladder surgery
UNDATED (NBC) -- Dr. James Hermenegildo, a general surgeon, can often be found at the controls of a robot.
His specialty is removing gallbladders.
"The two main reasons to have your gallbladder removed is gallstones or what's called billiary dyskinesia, which is nonfunctioning of the gallbladder where your gallbladder squeezes and causes intense pain in your right upper quadrant that radiates around to the back," he said.
"I've been practicing in Fall River at Charlton Memorial Hospital. The Single-Site surgery I've been doing since 2008."
But up until recently, Hermenegildo was doing it by hand through one incision. Now, he uses the da Vinci surgical robot to do the same thing.
"This is much better, much safer for the patient. It is 3-D, 1080p visualization. I can see things on this screen that I wasn't able to see on a regular 2-D screen we usually use during laparoscopic surgery," he said.
Hermengildo said the wrist motions on the robot aren't possible with a human wrist.
"So what I can make the instruments do inside the patient's body, I physically could not do if I was at the bedside with my own instruments taking out a gallbladder," he said.
The incision is small.
"The incision is tucked in to the belly button takes less than an hour. They go home a couple hours after surgery," he said.
Hermanegildo said it's about twice as fast as the laparoscopic single site gallbladder removal and he said patient satisfaction has been high. He's done more than a dozen of them using the robot in the last month, and has 10 more scheduled.
The FDA has only approved the Single-Site surgery using the da Vinci robot for gallbladder removal, but Hermaneglido said there are applications to expand its use to include single-site colon surgery, hiatal hernia repair and gynecological surgeries.