Fairfield hospital performs first surgery with new robot device

A new medical technology designed to make surgery an easier experience this month made its Butler County debut.

Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital used a new da Vinci Xi Surgical System for the first time on April 17.

Designed for minimally-invasive surgery for many complex conditions, the Xi model offers more range of motion than the previous Si model the hospital has used since 2012, Mercy Health surgeon Dr. Jim Fitzpatrick told this media outlet during an exclusive look at the device Wednesday.

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Key features include small, thin arms with newly designed joints; long instrument shafts that give surgeons greater operative reach and an advanced 3-D, HD imaging system.

“The resolution is 10 times greater than a laparoscopic procedure,” Fitzpatrick said.

The device allows doctors to perform surgical procedures for a wide range of complex conditions through 1- to 2-centimeter incisions.

“There’s a circular piece where it’s attached to the mount,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can pick things up and spin them 180 (degrees) and put them back in and you can move your camera to different ports. It’s got a lot more flexibility that way.”

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That flexibility means being able to shift patients beyond a completely horizontal position during surgery and allows it to pair the device with a new, movable operating table.

“The robotic arms move, and the bed moves, so you can position the patients differently,” Fitzpatrick said.

The purchase makes Mercy Health the first and only hospital in Butler County to use the new system, officials there said.

“As with other minimally-invasive, robotic-assisted procedures, patients benefit from decreased blood loss, lower risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times and less scarring,” said Tom Urban, Mercy Health North Market president and CEO.

The new da Vinci Xi also can mean a patient being under the effects of anesthesia for less time, Fitzpatrick said.

“Some of the surgeries that I wouldn’t do robotically, I will now do robotically because of this capability,” he said. “We would have done it laparoscopically, if we needed to go multi-quadrants. Now we can do them robotically.”

An intravenous medication — indocyanine green — can be administered during surgery to change a regular picture to an ultraviolet one, helping doctors identify blood vessels by having blood light up a “firefly green” during general surgery, urology or gynecologic surgery, he said.

Robot-assisted procedures also are used for metabolic and weight loss procedures, cardiac and other heart-related issues, colorectal, head-and-neck, abdominal wall and thoracic surgery, as well as groin hernias and gastroesophageal reflux disease, officials said.

Mercy Health was the first health system in Ohio to use the da Vinci Xi when it deployed the surgical system in July 2014 at Mercy Health–St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. With the new da Vinci Xi robots at Fairfield and Anderson hospitals, it has 20 percent of the robots in Ohio, according to Mercy Health officials.

Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital, which will continue to use the da Vinci Si, needed the da Vinci Xi to expand its capacity, Fitzpatrick said.

“We’re already very experienced in doing robotic surgery … so it made sense to get the new version because of the multi-quadrant surgery,” he said.

In addition, set up is “much easier” for staff, Fitzpatrick said.

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