St. John’s performs first local robotic-assisted surgery

JACKSON, Wyo. — St. John’s Health performed the first local robotic-assisted surgeries in general surgery and urology, using the newly acquired da Vinci surgical robotics system. The system was purchased with support from the St. John’s Health Foundation.

“Care close to home has many advantages,” said communications officer Karen Connelly. “With our recent investment in the da Vinci system, many patients will now have an additional local surgical option.”

Robotic-assisted surgery is the standard for some surgeries and is becoming a standard for many more. The first procedures performed at St. John’s were for abdominal hernia, appendix, and prostate disease, but the hospital says that a variety of patients will benefit. Other medical conditions that may be appropriate for robotic-assisted surgery are kidney and colorectal problems.

In addition to general surgery and urology, St. John’s expects to add robotic-assisted gynecology surgery later this year. Robotic-assisted surgery can be a good choice for women needing hysterectomies or surgery for endometriosis, a frequently painful condition that can affect fertility.

“What sets the da Vinci apart is the precision, control, enhanced dexterity, and 3-D visualization for our surgeons,” said Becca Wartig, RN, Director of Surgical Services. “While we are extremely pleased to offer robotic-assisted surgery, surgery choice is a decision to be made in consultation with one’s physician. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Our surgeons have the expertise to help determine which treatments and procedures are right for each individual.”

Staff from throughout St. John’s had the opportunity this week to “test-drive” the new technology. In a friendly competition of dexterity and control, staff tried their hand at various activities utilizing a “demo” da Vinci robot.

One participant, Chad Rothermel, said, “I was really impressed. The reach is farther than what a human hand can do.”

St. John’s hopes to bring the demonstration robot to community events in the future, as circumstances allow. “Experiencing it yourself really opens your eyes to the expanded capabilities it offers,” said Connelly.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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