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St. John's Hospital Acquires Latest Technology in Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Only hospital in the Midwest with the dual console da Vinci, St. John's aims to become regional training center

Springfield, Illinois (PRWEB) July 23, 2009 -- St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, recently became the only hospital in the Midwest to acquire a dual console da Vinci surgical robot, and one of three hospitals in the United States to purchase the new system.

The da Vinci is the latest robotic-assisted surgery system that gives surgeons an enhanced three-dimensional view of the operative field and greater flexibility to maneuver instruments during a minimally invasive procedure.

With the acquisition in late June of the dual console da Vinci, St. John's aims to be the Midwest leader in training for robotic surgery. The acquisition of the new dual-console da Vinci SI Surgical System will allow greater collaboration for surgeons who perform robotic surgical procedures and enhance teaching opportunities at St. John's Hospital.

"I've traveled around the United States doing robotic surgeries, and the team at St. John's is of the highest quality. With this technology, St. John's will attract the best and the brightest for training," said Bradley Schwartz, MD, the director for laparoscopy and endourology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dr. Schwartz has performed more than 120 robotic surgical procedures at St. John's Hospital.

With the dual console, a surgeon training on the robot can work side-by-side with the expert surgeon performing the operation. "It's similar to the relationship between a co-pilot in training working with an experienced pilot," added Dr. Schwartz.

Patients benefit from robotic surgery as well. Less pain, smaller scars, and a quicker recovery time are all benefits from the da Vinci. "Patients can get back to life faster," said Dave Schwabacher, RN, Robotics Coordinator at St. John's.
The new da Vinci SI was launched nationally in April. "St. John's is committed to investing in medical technology that improves recovery times and reduces complications for our patients. In 2004, we were the first hospital in the region to acquire a da Vinci robot. Our decision to upgrade to the latest system underscores our ongoing dedication to provide better outcomes for our patients," said Bob Ritz, President and CEO, St. John's Hospital.

The new da Vinci SI offers greater benefits to surgeons and clinicians, including:

  • Advanced 3D HD visualization with up to 12x magnification
  • An updated user interface for streamlined setup and Operating Room turnover times
  • Enhanced digital OR integration
  • Dual-console capability to support training and collaboration during minimally invasive surgery.

These technological advancements provide surgeons with unparalleled precision, dexterity and control that allow for a minimally invasive approach to many complex surgical procedures. Robotic surgery at St. John's has primarily involved urological and gynecological procedures, but also includes cardiac, colorectal and infertility procedures.

The da Vinci robot allows a surgeon to operate through a console adjacent to the operating table that provides a three-dimensional view, allowing for the depth perception necessary to manipulate tissue. Unlike normal laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon has a full-range of motion and the same direct eye-hand instrument alignment found in open surgery.

"The advantage to robotic surgery is that surgeons can operate in a very small incision as if our hands are right there," said Dr. Schwartz. The daVinci system performs more than 1,300 safety checks per second during a procedure, ensuring a failsafe operation. "Because of the advanced technology involved with the robot, patient safety is maximized. If there are problems with the robot, it can be undocked and a normal laparoscopic procedure can be completed," added Dr. Schwartz.

St. John's has been a leader in robotic surgery since 2004 with seven surgeons who've undergone specialized training currently using the daVinci at St. John's. They are supported by 18 specially trained clinicians from the hospital's surgical staff. More than 300 patients have undergone a robotic surgical procedure at St. John's. Typically, those patients have found their recovery times were faster and they were up and resuming normal daily activity more quickly with less risk of complications.

For more information and to view photos and a video about St. John's robotics program, please visit


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