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St. Joseph's Hospital Expands Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery in Tampa, Adds Single Site Surgery for Gallbladder Removal

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The most comprehensive robotic surgery program in the Tampa Bay area now offers the latest in minimally-invasive procedures: the ability to remove a gallbladder through just one small incision in the bellybutton.

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Dr. David F. Echevarria performed the first single site robotic cholecystectomy  (gallbladder removal) last week at St. Joseph's Hospital's Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery.  This is the latest milestone for the program that pioneered robotic-assisted surgery in Tampa in 2002.

"Our goal is get patients back to their normal lives as safely and quickly as possible," Dr. Echevarria said. "With this technique, patients are in and out of the hospital the same day.  Patients generally experience less pain, minimal scaring and a faster return to work and other daily activities."    

There was a time when gallbladder surgery brought an unsettling picture to the mind: a huge, diagonal scar just below the ribcage.  In the 1990s, advancement of laparoscopic surgery offered patients benefits of minimally invasive surgery, including less scarring and reduced pain.  Today, single site robotic cholecystectomy takes this procedure to a whole new level.

"With the Single-Site da Vinci®Surgery, we only have to make one incision about two centimeters long at the navel.  Through the small opening, we insert a tiny robotic camera and flexible working instruments," Dr. Echevarria said. "The camera provides high-definition, three-dimensional look inside the body, allowing me to see details not possible with the naked eye.  The instruments, which I control from a console near the patient, are like miniature versions of my own hands, but with even greater dexterity and steadiness.  The result is a safe, effective operation that often leaves no scar and allows patients to quickly get back to their usual routine."

In addition to single site gallbladder surgery, St. Joseph's Hospital offers robotic-assisted colorectal surgery, general surgery, gynecological surgery, gynecological/oncology surgery, pediatric urological surgery, and urological surgery.

"Our Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery is like none other," said Lorraine Lutton, chief operating officer for St. Joseph's Hospital.  "We are fortunate to have 20 highly-trained surgeons offering more than 40 different robotic-assisted procedures, backed by an experienced surgical team that is truly dedicated to providing excellent patient care." 

St. Joseph's Hospital was the first in hospital in Florida to use the da Vinci® robotic surgery system for general surgery, and now has two da Vinci® robots – one at St. Joseph's Hospital and one across the street at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital.  The Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital continues to blaze a trail by adding physicians with specialized services.  Dr. Echevarria, a Tampa native whose clinical interests include advanced laparoscopic surgery, general surgery, robotic surgery and surgical oncology including breast, liver and pancreatic cancers, is Board Certified in General Surgery and has been in surgical practice for 20 years. 

For more information about St. Joseph's Hospital and the Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery, visit

About St. Joseph's Hospital
Founded as a mission by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, St. Joseph's Hospital has served the health care needs of Tampa since 1934 and today is the largest not-for-profit health care provider in Hillsborough County.  St. Joseph's Hospital is known for advanced medical technology and surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic-assisted procedures.  The hospital includes a Level 2 Trauma Center, Cancer Institute, Heart Institute, and Stroke and Neuroscience Program, with sister hospitals including St. Joseph's Women's Hospital and St. Joseph's Children's Hospital. Part of BayCare Health System, St. Joseph's Hospital is located at 3001 West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tampa. For more information, go to

About BayCare Health System
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 10 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient's lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at

SOURCE BayCare Health System
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