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Sarasota Memorial First In Region To Offer Less Invasive Robotic Weight-Loss Surgery

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SARASOTA (July 25, 2011) – First it was cancer and cardiac surgery, then gynecological and thoracic cases. Now, Sarasota Memorial has become the first hospital in the region to use its da Vinci robot to offer patients the most advanced, minimally invasive option in weight loss surgery.

Sarasota Memorial General Surgeon John Nora, MD, was the first in the Manatee-Sarasota metro area to perform a robotically assisted Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Dr. Nora is one of more than a dozen robotic surgeons at Sarasota Memorial trained who use the da Vinci robotic surgical system. Together, the surgeons offer a wide range of general and specialized surgeries, from robotically-assisted hysterectomies, hiatal hernia repairs and other gastric surgery, to prostate/gynecological cancer surgery, mitral valve repairs, heart bypass and lung/esophageal cancer surgery.

HeadshotUsing Sarasota Memorial's break-through da Vinci robot, the surgeons operate with robotic tools through tiny key-hole size incisions. Using high-resolution 3D visualization and computerized instrumentation, the da Vinci system scales, filters and translates the surgeon’s hand and wrist motion into more precise movements with improved dexterity and increased precision and control. The system's 3D cameras provide magnification 10 times that of the naked eye, and the instruments offer an extended range of motion and wrist articulation not possible with the human hand.

“What we are doing is taking laparascopic general surgery one step further with the robotic capabilities and instrumentation," said Dr. Nora. "Robotic surgery is the future, and Sarasota Memorial remains at the forefront of these advances. Every month, every year, we are expanding the indications and applications for this new technology."

For many patients, da Vinci surgery means significantly less pain and scarring, less blood loss, reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, a much quicker recovery and faster return to normal daily activities compared to conventional open surgery. Most patients who received a da Vinci surgery typically go home within a day or two following the procedure, and return to their normal routines within 1-2 weeks.

Dr. Nora performed the robotic gastric bypass procedure on a 51-year-old Sarasota woman on Wednesday, July 20. She went home on Friday with just a few 7-8 mm incisions, approximately 30 percent smaller than a traditional laparascopic procedure, and much less invasive than an open surgery.

The robotic system offered superior visualization with a 3-dimensional camera vs. the 2-dimensional views in a laparascopic procedure, as well as a more nimble and greater range of motion, said Dr. Nora.

“All of that leads to greater accuracy and benefits to the patient,” said Dr. Nora.

Sarasota Memorial was the first hospital in Florida – and among the first in the nation – to acquire the da Vinci-S Surgical System after it was introduced to the world market. The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board voted unanimously in March 2006 to purchase the $1.4 million robot to ensure that community members have access to the less invasive, leading edge treatment for many heart and cancer surgeries. The Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. contributed $400,000 in private donations to help purchase the robot. Since then, the hospital has purchased a second robot - again with foundation support – to handle an increasing number of cases.

About Sarasota Memorial
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 700,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s largest, safest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care walk-in clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing & rehabilitation. For information, visit:

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