HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new type of surgery is giving patients quicker recovery times and allowing doctors to be less invasive on your body. Grand Strand Medical Center is the only hospital in the Grand Strand region currently offering this cutting edge technology.
The da Vinci Surgery uses a robot to allow surgeons to make time consuming procedures, more prompt and precise. Right now, at Grand Strand Medical Center it's currently being used for gynecology, urology and general surgeries.
Dr Matzinger is a general and vascular surgeon at Grand Strand Medical Center. He's one of multiple doctors at the hospital regularly performing the da Vinci surgery. He calls the surgical robot an added tool in his tool belt.
"It has everything to do with trying to extend our minimally invasive capabilities to make it safer for patients and faster recovery," said Dr. Matzinger.
OB/GYN Tracey Golden said it's a minimally invasive procedure, taking surgery beyond the limits of the human hand. Not to worry, the robot, does not act on its own. Dr. Golden controls every aspect of the surgical field. She's just steps away from the operating table supported by a full medical staff, all trained on the device.
"The instruments are wristed so instead of being straight sticks, we have the ability to turn and move so we can actually suture and dissect as if our hands were inside the person's abdomen," said Dr. Matzinger.
The camera also gives doctors a 3D look inside your body, allowing them to work deeper without making a large incision in your body. This improves visualization, which doctors say leads to a safer surgery.
Dr. Golden says the da Vinci robot makes laparoscopic surgery more precise, because of that, procedures can take a shorter amount of time. She uses da Vinci to perform gynecological procedures like hysterectomies. Dr. Golden says in some surgeries, this tool could even help get patient out of the hospital in the same day and allow for a faster recovery.
"If someone has an open hysterectomy or an open gynecologic surgery, they are out of work for about six weeks," said Dr. Golden. "With robotic surgery an individual can return to her work position in one to two weeks after surgery."
That's because the robot assisted surgery allows doctors to make small, minimally invasive incisions in a wide range of surgeries.
"Patients recover faster from this because there's less trauma at the time of surgery," said Dr. Matzinger.
A little over a year ago, the hospital upgraded to a single site surgery for gallbladder removal. This means, using the robot, the doctor only has to make one incision. According to GSMC doctors, in traditional laparoscopic gallbladder surgery a doctor makes a minimum of four. Right now, the gall bladder surgery is just about the only single incision surgery at the hospital. Doctors say the goal in the next year is to move to single site gynecological procedures, leaving just one single scar.
Grand Strand Medical Center doctors say it will upgrade to a new platform so surgeons can do more single incision procedures in general surgery.
There's no doubt there is a learning curve, which both doctors admit, but that's why they undergo safe training with the entire medical team. They recommend if you are interested in this procedure, you talk it over with your doctor first.