Published on November 06, 2020

Robotic surgery offers minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery

Jessica Brewer, LMH Health

Have you heard about da Vinci surgery? For something that may sound intimidating, it is quite the opposite. Dr. Jared Konie, a surgeon with Lawrence General Surgery, says this advanced technology allows surgeons to perform more difficult operations while remaining minimally invasive. 

Dr. Jared Konie

Dr. Jared Konie

“The instruments are not much wider than a pencil, and have little wrists on the ends that can flex and rotate more than the human wrist,” he said. “Surgeons very carefully place these instruments inside the body, then attach the instruments to the da Vinci robot. The surgeon then controls the robotic instruments with pinpoint precision and the steadiest hands in the world.” 

Dr. Konie has been performing surgeries with the da Vinci robot since 2016, though the technology was approved by the FDA 20 years ago. Many people think that robotic surgery means that a robot does the operation instead of the surgeon, which is not the case. 

“Surgeons control the instruments and are responsible for every part of the operation,” he said. “Just as a crane operator moves levers and pushes buttons to slowly and precisely place a heavy beam on top of a building, surgeons use their fingers and foot pedals to delicately control the robotic instruments.” 

Like every surgical instrument and piece of technology, the da Vinci system is a tool. It does not replace laparoscopic surgery or open surgery and is not appropriate for every patient or every surgeon. It is up to patients and their surgeons to decide if this technology should be used for their particular operation. 

“For me in my practice, robotic surgery is a game-changer for repairing complex abdominal hernias and removing colon cancers,” Dr. Konie said. “When I see patients go home one day after robotic colon cancer surgery and they don’t need a prescription for pain medication, I know we’ve done something right.” 

Dr. Logan Kracht

Dr. Logan Kracht

The da Vinci robot can be used in multitudes of surgeries, including gynecological procedures. Dr. Logan Kracht and Dr. Lynley Holman, physicians with Lawrence OB-GYN Specialists, both use the da Vinci in their practice. 

Dr. Kracht has been using da Vinci technology since 2013 and one of his passions in the medical field is minimally invasive surgery. He enjoys being able to offer his patients a way to do a procedure where they will feel like themselves as soon as possible after their surgery. 

“A hysterectomy is considered a major surgery,” Dr. Kracht said. “It used to always require a single large incision, and you could count on needing at least two nights in the hospital for recovery. Not only does that require a long hospital stay, but medical costs were high. With da Vinci, we perform many of these major surgeries outpatient, which means they can go home on the same day to begin their recovery. 

He said complicated surgeries can be accomplished more easily with da Vinci than with traditional open or laparoscopic surgery. For instance, a hysterectomy for a large uterus with fibroids doesn’t have to require a large incision, and thus more pain and time for recovery. In his practice, these cases can be done with little laparoscopic incisions. 

“I have had patients who have minimal time off for medical procedures and because of da Vinci surgery, they feel better quicker and go back to work sooner,” Dr. Kracht said. “We strive to get people back to their preoperative state as soon as possible. Doing as many minimally-invasive cases as possible helps us to do this. It is great for our patient’s recovery and health to be able to leave the same day as they had their procedure.”

He said we have two da Vinci robots at the main hospital that are equipped with the most up-to-date and advanced features. There are different parts and aspects that make the da Vinci great, and ours have the latest and greatest. 

“We are lucky to have the newest models and latest components for our da Vinci,” Dr. Kracht said. “It’s awesome for us and the surgeons love using the latest technology that benefits our patients.” 

Dr. Lynley Holman

Dr. Lynley Holman

Dr. Holman said she has seen da Vinci surgery afford people a better surgery experience and give them the ability to go home the same day as their surgery. 

“We had a patient come to us seeking a second opinion because they had been told elsewhere the surgery they needed would be an open abdomen surgery with longer hospitalization and recovery,” she said. “With da Vinci, we were able to successfully operate and send the patient home on the same day as their surgery instead of requiring multiple overnight stays. Before da Vinci, there would have been no way to have results this impressive.” 

Dr. Holman said the robot allows surgeons the ability to do more surgeries per day with incredible precision, less risk, fewer incisions that are also smaller, and a better experience for our patients. 

“These are just a few of the great examples why da Vinci surgery is wonderful in our practices,” she said. “The technology we have allows us to care for our patients in the best way we can and to offer our patients more options that may be best for them.” 

Jessica Brewer is the social media and digital communications specialist at LMH Health.

Robotic surgery offers minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery

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