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St. David's HealthCare Takes Robotic-Assisted Surgery to the Next Level With the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center
Date:3/24/2011

AUSTIN, Texas, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- St. David's HealthCare today announced the establishment of Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center, which will feature the Robotic Institute University, the nation's first educational epicenter teaching best practices for hospital and surgical teams involved in robotic-assisted surgery.

The Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center is an international treatment, training and clinical research center that will combine excellence in robotic-assisted surgery and outcomes in education and training. The institute will serve as the leading clinical center for delivering the highest level of care at every step in the treatment of a robotic surgery patient.

"The use of robotic-assisted surgeries continues to grow at a rapid pace, and we are at the forefront of that growth in both practice and education," C. David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David's HealthCare, said. "With the development of this institute and its educational component, we will reach a broader base of patients and attract physicians and surgical teams that are eager to hone their skills, improve patient care and conduct clinical research."

St. David's North Austin Medical Center recruited Randy Fagin, M.D., a renowned industry leader in robotic surgery, as the institute's chief administrative officer. In this role, Fagin will assist in the recruitment of other internationally known robotic-assisted surgeons in a variety of specialties, develop and implement programs to elevate the consistency and quality of patient care, as well as develop educational training programs for physicians and hospital teams.

"The Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center is a destination for advanced robotic-assisted surgical treatment for patients, as well as for physicians, surgical teams and hospital staff who wish to be trained on leading-edge technologies and techniques," Fagin said. "The center's focus, which goes beyond the operating room to include research and training related to the consistency and quality of patient care through the Robotic Institute University, makes it the first of its kind in the world."

As one of the top five robotic surgeons in the world, Fagin has served as the senior medical advisor for Intuitive Surgical®, the global leader in the field of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery, for the past two years. He has performed more than 2,100 robotic-assisted surgeries, as well as trained surgeons from around the world. Patients have traveled from 32 states and 12 countries to be treated by him. For the past six years, Fagin has performed surgery live for the American Urology Association's international meetings, as an expert in his field.

"Dr. Fagin is highly respected in the field of robotic-assisted surgery, and we are proud that he will be part of the leadership for this institute," Don Wilkerson, chief executive officer of St. David's North Austin Medical Center, said. "With his expertise, and that of our other physicians, we are establishing a true hub for robotic surgery right here in Central Texas."

Courses at the Robotic Institute University are scheduled to begin in summer 2011, with the intent to expand to other St. David's HealthCare facilities in the future. University instruction will incorporate a variety of learning environments including didactic coursework, operating room observations and backstage looks at the workings of the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center and its key people.

St. David's North Austin Medical Center is committed to meeting any educational and training needs of the institute, Wilkerson said, including the recruitment of additional surgeons and staff, an eventual four-operating room expansion and the purchase of additional robots for surgery and training.

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery is designed to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to patients. Surgeons are provided with all of the clinical and technical capabilities of traditional open surgery, while operating through a few tiny incisions. Intuitive Surgical's products combine superior 3D high definition vision with the company's patented Endo Wrist® Instruments allowing for enhanced dexterity, precision and control.

St. David's HealthCare has long been a leader in robotic-assisted surgery. During the last quarter of 2010, St. David's North Austin Medical Center surgeons performed nearly 200 robotic surgical cases.

St. David's North Austin Medical Center is currently the only hospital in Central Texas with two da Vinci® Surgical Systems, which are used in a number of specialties including urology, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, urologic oncology, general surgery and bariatric surgery.

In 2011, otolaryngological (ENT) surgery will become available at St. David's North Austin Medical Center, including ENT surgery for benign and cancerous conditions as well as total thyroidectomy with no neck scar.  

In addition to the da Vinci® Surgical Systems at St. David's North Austin Medical Center, there is currently one da Vinci® Surgical System at St. David's South Austin Medical Center, which is used for urology, gynecology, oncology and cardiovascular surgeries. St. David's South Austin Medical Center was the first hospital in Austin to use the da Vinci® Surgical System for thoracic procedures.

The establishment of the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery at St. David's North Austin Medical Center further enhances St. David's HealthCare as a leader in this growing field of medicine, placing it in the top 1% of programs in the world.

With robotic-assisted surgery, patients often have improved outcomes, such as:

  • Less blood loss and need for transfusions
  • Shortened hospital stays
  • Less pain
  • Low risk of infection and complications
  • Faster recovery time and return to normal activities
  • Small incisions for less scarring

For more information, please visit TexasRobotic.com.

St. David's HealthCare

With more than 60 sites across Central Texas, St. David's HealthCare includes seven of the area's leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. Known for compassionate, high-quality care, the organization has been recognized with the Texas Award for Performance Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the State of Texas based upon world-class quality measures. Ranked as one of the Top Workplaces in 2010 by the Austin American-Statesman—as well as the top Austin-area employer among large companies at the Austin Business Journal's annual "Best Places to Work" event in 2007, 2008 and 2009—St. David's HealthCare is the fifth-largest private employer in the Austin area, with more than 7,100 employees. For more information, please visit StDavids.com.

St. David's North Austin Medical Center

St. David's North Austin Medical Center, located at 12221 North Mopac Expressway, is part of St. David's HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas. The 332-bed multi-specialty, acute care facility is dedicated to the highest level of women's health services, including maternity and newborn care with Level I, II and III nurseries at the adjacent St. David's Women's Center of Texas, as well as a 24-hour emergency department, heart and vascular center, neurology and neurosurgery, a kidney transplant program, inpatient and outpatient surgery, and acute inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, among many others. For more information, please visit StDavids.com.

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Christian or Kristin Marcum
Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations
512.472.9599


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SOURCE St. David's HealthCare
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