UC Davis is the first health system in California, and the second on the West Coast, to welcome the arrival of a new robotic surgery system called the da Vinci SP. The technology is unique because it allows surgeons to complete procedures, such as prostate or tonsil removal, through just one small incision.
UC Davis also will soon be the first academic health system on the West Coast to use another robotic system known as ExcelsiusGPS, designed exclusively to treat spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease.
These additions greatly expand options for minimally invasive procedures that typically reduce scarring, hospital stays, blood loss, infection rates, pain medication use and recovery time for patients. They also make UC Davis’ robotic surgery program the most advanced in the region.
UC Davis surgeons have been at the forefront of refining best practices in robotic surgery since 2002, when it was first used for a gastric bypass procedure, according to Bahareh Nejad, medical director of robotic surgery at UC Davis Health.
“We are now among the nation’s leaders in this field, with more than 20 highly trained surgeons and skilled teams using robotic systems to treat a variety of conditions,” Nejad added. Those conditions range from hepatobiliary to gastrointestinal to head-and-neck disorders.
Robotic systems greatly expand what surgeons can see and access during complex procedures that involve delicate parts of the body or tight spaces, explained Nejad, an ob/gyn and leader in women's health. During robotic-assisted surgery, a sophisticated computer console moves surgical instruments attached to thin mechanical arms with great dexterity, precision and range of motion. Stereoscopic, 3D imaging also broadens visualization of the operative field.
The compact ExcelsiusGPS links a mechanical arm with medical imaging and precise navigation capabilities in one unit. UC Davis neurological surgery teams are currently undergoing training to use the system for spinal fusion procedures.
“Academic medical centers like UC Davis have a responsibility to lead the way as medicine evolves,” Nejad said. “Leading the way in surgery means giving patients access to minimally invasive procedures whenever possible, and helping them get back to health and their lives as quickly as possible.”
More information about robotic surgery at UC Davis Health, including a complete list of robotic surgeons, is online.