Many hospitals in the Valley are turning to robots to help them in surgery.
According to Harvard Medical School, the first robotic surgery was performed int he mid-1980s, and now thousands of procedures are performed using the assistance of robots.
Locally, two cutting-edge systems are now available at Sharon Regional Medical Center – the Navio Surgical system and da Vinci XI system.
A demonstration of the new systems was held Thursday for medical staff.
The Navio system aids orthopedic surgeons and the da Vinci XI system can be used for almost any laparoscopic procedure.
Robotic surgeries still need the trained hands of a surgeon to guide the instruments. At Sharon Regional, two doctors went through hours of training to navigate the systems. They say the robotic technology is more precise, with full wrist motion and a 3-D high-definition camera.
The technology has a benefit for patients when it comes to recovery.
“We get a more normal pain-free feel of the knee. About 25 percent of the people that undergo knee replacement still have pain, so we are trying to reduce that down to 10 percent and hopefully less than 5 percent,” said Dr. Steven Hand, orthopedic surgeon.
Dr. Randy Hofius said they’ve seen patients able to go home after surgery with little discomfort.
“For example, hernia surgeries where people do not go home with opioids and are fine with that, that’s huge,” he said.
Right now, Hofius and Hand are trained in the new technology, but more physicians are being educated.
Also during the demonstration, the robotics team from Sharon High School got to show off their work that garnered the team the Global Innovation Award. The demonstration highlighted how the Lego robots the students are building now are the stepping stones for future innovation.
“How robotics are used in the medical field – I’ve heard of stuff like this, but I’ve never understood how they work. But being able to experience it and actually try it, I think that’s one thing I took away,” said Alex Sokol, 9th grader at Sharon High School.
Trumbull Regional Medical Center unveiled the da Vinci X at their hospital in Warren last year. Mercy Health also uses the da Vinci robotic surgical system.