Coronary bypass patients at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital could have shorter recovery times and reduced postoperative pain if the Food and Drug Administration approves use of an innovative robotic surgical tool.
The facility has been in possession of the da Vinci Surgical System robotic tool used for closed-chest surgeries since 2001. It’s expected to be another four to six months before the FDA decides if the system can be used for coronary bypass operations.
Scottsdale Healthcare Shea was one of a handful of hospitals nationwide to participate in FDA trials on closed-chest heart surgery using the robot. The trials ended this month.
Meanwhile, the hospital uses the system primarily for prostate and cardiac surgery approved by the FDA.
The system uses robotic arms inserted through incisions the diameter of a pencil. The robot eliminates the need to open the chest cavity to perform heart surgery.
"Smaller incisions mean shorter recovery times and reduced postoperative pain," said Dr. Joseph Auteri, a Scottsdale Healthcare Shea cardiac surgeon.
Seated at a console several feet from the patient, surgeons perform surgery operating joystick-like controls and foot pedals that guide the system’s two robotic arms. The instruments move intuitively: If a surgeon moves the control to the right, the robotic arm moves to the right.
"It’s that ability alone that sets the da Vinci ahead of its predecessors that moved counterintuitive, or in other words, up meant down," Auteri said.
A third arm contains a camera that displays on a monitor a three-dimensional image, just as a surgeon would see if performing open-chest surgery.
Scottsdale Healthcare Shea has continually expanded the robot’s use. "We want to get our money’s worth," said hospital spokesman Keith Jones about the robot, which costs about $1 million. The hospital purchased the system with funds raised by Scottsdale residents, Jones said.
In March, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea heart surgeons performed the state’s first robot-assisted mitral valve heart surgery, a procedure approved by the FDA earlier this year.
"Prior to da Vinci, the surgery that repairs the leaking heart valve required a six-inch incision, six- to eight-week recovery time and a weeklong hospital stay. Open-heart surgery, like coronary bypass, utilizing da Vinci usually only has a two-week recovery time prior to resuming normal activities," Auteri said.
The da Vinci has it’s beginnings in the Vietnam War-era and was designed jointly by the Department of Defense and Stanford Research Group, a division of Stanford University.
The idea was that a medic could perform surgery on an injured soldier from off-site locations, said Joe O’Connor, marketing representative for the da Vinci. The technology was never able to perform as the military originally intended, but robotic surgery still has its benefits, he said.
Prospective patients who would like to determine if they are a candidate for robotic heart surgery can call Dr. Joseph Auteri at (480) 661-0700. For other robotic surgeries, call Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital at (480) 675-4636.