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St. Luke’s Hospital first in Iowa to offer single-incision surgery thanks to robotics

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — Unity Point Health in Cedar Rapids is taking it one step further offering the first single port robotic surgery here in Iowa.

This less invasive surgery process is happening at St. Luke’s urology department with the arrival of it’s new robot.

Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa Urologist Dr. Jon Rippentrop says it will soon be the standard to have a robot making the incisions in patients.

“It really represents where robotics should be going in the future in terms of minimizing impacts on the patient and hopefully improving patient outcomes,” he said.

The robot’s capabilities make it much easier for surgeons to remove cancerous prostates — using just one incision.

“Ultimately there are four separate arms that are really under control of the surgeon at all times all through one small incision,” Rippentrop said.

Using a special console with hand and foot controls, the doctor uses the robot to deploy their instruments through one site, once it’s already inside the body.

“Because of the articulating camera we’re seeing this that we really couldn’t see before just based on the angle that you can change,” Rippentrop said.

Former robotic systems created several incisions and prior to that, doctors had to completely open patients up.

“It was sort of a natural transition to try and get as many instruments inside from one incision as opposed to making as many incisions on the outside to get more instruments in,” Rippentrop said.

The idea is to reduce recovery time and pain. So far, patient reaction has been positive.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised when i see them after surgery and they say you know this is much better than i thought it was going to be,” Rippentrop said.

So far, the hospital has performed six surgeries using the Da Vinci SP Robot. Right now, it’s only FDA approved for urological procedures, such as prostate and kidney removal.

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Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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