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The use of operating room robots is growing in hospitals, such as HCA Florida Northwest Hospital in Margate, and provides both patients and surgeons with several benefits



Margate, Florida – The U.S. Department of Defense sought to deploy robotic-assisted surgery for wartime trauma treatment, which marked a significant advancement in medical science.

It has since developed into a multibillion-dollar industry including surgical operations all over the world, including Broward County hospitals like Margate’s HCA Florida Northwest Hospital.

“When I started, we had open surgery, we made a big incision or smaller incisions, but with limited access,” said Mark Shachner, M.D., an HCA Florida Northwest Hospital board member and general surgeon. “You would see with your eyes directly and use your hands.”

After more than 30 years of practice, Dr. Shachner switched from open to laparoscopic surgery, and now he uses robots to assist him in the operating room.

Doctors agree that patients gain greatly from this. Smaller incisions result in less pain and bleeding, fewer hospital days, a quicker recovery, and a quicker return to their regular lives.

It is difficult to determine the precise number of robotic procedures performed nationwide because there isn’t a single source of data on the subject.

However, according to a medical journal study released by the American Medical Association, the percentage of surgeries performed with robots increased from 2 percent to over 15 percent between 2012 and 2018. Certain specializations, including some hernia repairs, had a 41-fold rise in robot use during this time.

The maker of the most widely used robotic surgical system, Intuitive Surgical, claims that since its establishment in 1995, more than 10 million surgeries have been performed and that more than 60,000 physicians worldwide have received training on the technology.

Initially, robotic devices were mostly employed in gynecological procedures for the removal of the uterus or ovaries.

Experts say that urologists then began to use them to remove prostrates.

The fields in which the corporation now specifies the usage of its equipment include cardiac, colorectal, head and neck, chest, and general operations.

Nowadays, robot-assisted procedures are available at every hospital system in Broward County.
This helps not just patients but also surgeons, who may operate by sitting at a machine instead of standing for long periods of time in awkward positions.

It has made a significant difference for Dr. Shachner, who performs many diaphragm and reflux procedures involving the chest and belly.

“My right shoulder used to be killing me from all the weird positions and having to elevate my arms to get in the right position, and the inside of several of my fingers would go numb,” he said.

The pain from all the procedures also affected his right knee.

“With robotic surgery, the same operation, I don’t have any of those issues,” he said. “The ergonomics are far superior.”

In the long run, that will prolong his career in the operating room and provide more patients with access to a skilled surgeon.

Additionally, he said, that improves patient outcomes.

“Surgeons who do most of their surgery robotically are going to be better … robotically for that kind of procedure, rather than people who just use it every once in a while,” Dr. Shachner said.


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