WGXA's Healthy Living: Local News
Healthy Living: Surgeon Performs Robotic First at Coliseum Medical Center
Story Updated: Apr 24, 2012
Dr. Laura Reed sits perched in a chair and deftly peers into a 3-D magnification viewfinder to perform a robotic first in Central Georgia. By precisely manipulating the robotic arms, she is able to use the da Vinci Surgical System as a second set of eyes and hands to assist her in the operating room.
While robotic procedures are commonly being used for gynecological and urological procedures, Dr. Reed says this is the first time this technology is being used for thoracic surgery.
“Robotic procedures are really an evolution of thoracic surgery,” Dr. Reed remarks. “It started out we were making really gigantic incisions, several inches long, from the spine all the way around all the way to the front of the chest to do our thoracic procedures. Robotics is the next step.”
For surgeons, these enhanced capabilities mean better visualization and dexterity. What was once a six inch incision in traditional surgery is now reduced to dime sized incisions using daVinci robotic technology. For patients like Cheryl Matlock, this means a less invasive procedure with less scarring, a shorter hospital stay, less post operative discomfort and a quicker return to normal daily activities.
Matlock was the first patient to have lung surgery performed with robotic technology at the Coliseum Medical Center. After a recent diagnosis of Mediastinal Lymphadenopathy, an enlargement of the mediastinal lymph nodes, Dr. Reed was able to perform a lung biopsy and stop the spread of disease in the 57 year old’s body.
Dr. Reed was able to do this through just a few incisions between the ribs and without splitting the patient’s breastbone. Dr. Reed viewed the procedure through a high resolution 3D camera inside the patient for magnified dexterity, precision and control. Matlock is
ecstatic that this technology is available for other thoracic surgery patients. “Oh it is wonderful. I just feel so thankful that this technology is out there. I was so glad that it was available.”
According to Dr. Reed, feedback from patients about the new technology has been overwhelmingly positive. “People have been very apprehensive at the start,” admits Dr. Reed. “It is a new technology and the idea of the robot is a little bit scary to some of them. But patients are very pleased with the results that they have had. “
Weeks after the surgery, Matlock says she recovered from surgery with no problem and has already returned to exercising and her daily routine. Following this surgery’s success, Dr. Reed plans to continue to offer thoracic robotic surgery in the middle Georgia area. Dr. Reed believes the future of robotic surgery is promising: “I think it will continue to advance. The instrumentation is getting better all the time. I think it won't be very long before we find that every procedure that we do can be done through the chest with robotics.”
Dr. Reed, who holds the distinction of being the first female cardiothoracic Surgeon to practice in Georgia, is proud to lead the way in using this new technology: “I think this is huge. It is really on the cutting edge of thoracic surgery. Having it here and having it available in Georgia is really a great thing. “