PITTSBURG — It is the year of 2018 and medical technology continues to improve, creating less painful and invasive surgeries.

The number of Via Christi Pittsburg patients who have gone under robot-assisted surgery has surpassed 1,000 since its installation at the hospital.
In 2013, the hospital celebrated regional medical history for having the first robot-assisted surgery in Southeast Kansas. The system, which is also known as the da Vinci Surgical System, was first utilized by gynecologists at the hospital.

As time went on, Dr. Xavier M. Jenkins  — who has practiced medicine for over 30 years — made use of the system’s ability to do less invasive general abdominal surgeries for his patients, which includes surgeries on hernias, bowels, colon cancer, correction of acid reflux, gallbladder and more.

“This is the most advanced, minimally invasive technology available at this hospital,” Jenkins said.

Although the majority of surgeries have been completed by gynecologists, patients needing abdominal surgeries increased the use of robotic-assisted surgeries by 450 in the last three years.

Jenkins said the “robotics” part does not work on it’s own, although the technology is out there it is not currently being used. The system’s robotic arms are completely controlled by the surgeon and the surgeon, along with other medical personnel are in the same room and along side the patient as with any other surgery.

He said robotic-assisted surgery decreases the amount of recovery time. For example, he said, when removing colon cancer a patient would generally stay in the hospital for over a week, but with the assistance of the technology the patient is able to recover much earlier.

Along with smaller incisions, the small robotic arms are able to reach the affected area, without harming surrounding tissues, Jenkins said, reducing complications, pain and recovery time.

“They are able to get to normal much, much sooner,” he said.

Jenkins said the technology is here to stay. To learn more about about the hospital’s robotic-assisted surgery people can call Jenkin’s office at 620-235-7675.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.