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The Power of 3… Robots

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da Vinci SiSARASOTA (Oct. 29, 2012)  – With its technologically advanced i-Suites, the largest and most experienced group of multi-specialty robotic surgeons in the region and now the latest generation da Vinci surgical robot slated to arrive today, Sarasota Memorial Hospital is enabling more surgeons to perform more complex procedures on more patients using a minimally invasive approach. 

The $2 million da Vinci Si robot – which boasts the latest options and features – is the hospital’s third robotic system. It will be installed in one of the health system’s new iSuite integrated operating rooms later today, and after appropriate testing, will be put to work in the next two weeks. 

Sarasota Memorial was the first to pioneer robotic surgery in southwest Florida, and now has more than 22 robotic surgeons who have performed more than 2,000 procedures in an ever-growing field of specialties– cardiovascular, thoracic, gynecology, urology, oncology and general surgery. 

“That’s one of the features that makes Sarasota Memorial’s robotics program unique – our team’s considerable experience, the many subspecialties we offer and the collaboration that ensures our patients receive the best surgical care available,” said Lorraine Butler, director of surgery at Sarasota Memorial.   

Sarasota Memorial is the only hospital in the region with so many experienced robotic surgeons and now three robotic operating suites to ensure a comprehensive range of minimally invasive surgical options are available to patients when they need them.

Using the da Vinci system, surgeons operate remotely from a computer console a few feet away from the operating table. The robot has four arms that hold a camera and miniaturized surgical instruments that are inserted into a patient’s body through keyhole size incisions. The endoscopic tools allow the surgeon to grasp, cut, cauterize, suction and stitch with a range of motion beyond that of the human wrist, while high definition cameras inside the body and outside monitors provide a real time 3D view inside the body 10 times the magnification of the naked eye. 

While the da Vinci Si offers the same precision, dexterity and control as the earlier da Vinci S models in use at the hospital, the latest version offers several additional benefits for more complex cases, including:

  • Single site instruments  – allowing surgeons to perform certain surgeries, including gallbladder surgery and hysterectomies, through a single keyhole size incision rather than three to five small incisions. 
  • Fluorescent imaging – a special tool that uses near infrared guidance to illuminate healthy tissue and blood vessels with a fluorescent green glow, so surgeons can see in real time where healthy tissue and vessels stop and damaged vessels or cancerous tissues begin.
  • 3D Simulator – which allows physicians, nurses, medical students and others to practice or refine their skills by operating the robot in a virtual environment without a real patient.
  • Vessel sealer and stapler – a new instrument that surgeons can use to cut and seal tissue simultaneously, reducing operating time.

Since Intuitive Surgical introduced its first da Vinci system in 1999, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has expanded the robot's use from general laparoscopic procedures to heart and valve surgery, thoracic surgery, gynecology and urological procedures, cancer, bariatric and other general surgeries.  

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 typically go home the day following the procedure, rather than staying up to a week in the hospital, and return to their normal routines within 1-2 weeks. 

With today’s arrival, Sarasota Memorial will have invested about $6 million in its robotic surgery systems. Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc. has contributed nearly $2 million in grants and donations toward the purchase of the hospital’s first two robots, and continues to raise funds to support robotics and other technological advances at the hospital.

By year’s end, two more Sarasota Memorial surgeons will have completed their robotic training, and the hospital is considering adding a dual console to the new system. The second console, which costs $500,000, would provide additional training/mentoring opportunities for newly trained robotic surgeons, as well as allow two robotic subspecialists to operate in concert on patients with complex or multiple conditions.


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 800,000 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 clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing & rehabilitation. Sarasota Memorial is the only hospital in the Suncoast region (Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties) ever to rank in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” and HealthGrades “America’s 50 Best Hospitals” lists. For more information, visit:



Media Contact: Kim Savage
Phone: (941) 917-6271
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