Feb 10, 2010 11:56 PM by Carina Corral
Seeing Karon Cushing sitting up in her hospital bed and joking with visitors, it is hard to imagine just hours before she went under the knife, undergoing a hysterectomy.
" I already got up, walked around. Did all those things. I could go home right now, but I don't have a ride," joked Cushing, the first patient in San Luis Obispo County to have a robot-assisted surgery.
da Vinci is the newest member of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center's surgical team. It is a $2 million surgical tool.
" The robot is not autonomous. It translates the hand commands of the surgeon into the movements of the instruments," said Dr. Kurt Haupt, an OB-GYN who assisted with the surgery.
Through the use of hand and foot controls, and with the help of a 3-D image, surgeons direct da Vinci's movements inside the patient.
Doctors said one of the biggest benefits to da Vinci is that it requires a smaller incision, typically about 1 cm, resulting in a faster recovery time for patients.
Traditionally, surgeries require a 12-14 cm incision.
Although the cuts are smaller, doctors are able to operate like it is an open surgery, with full range of motion.
" It translates into a much more natural, precise surgical approach," said Dr. Haupt.
For patients, it translates into a shorter hospital stay, as well.
Instead of staying here 2-3 days, Cushing went home the same day.
" I'm ready to go home and sleep in my own bed and not have to spend the night. And I don't feel uncomfortable at all."
The da Vinci is used nationally in a number of surgeries ranging from kidney disorders to obesity.
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