The most comprehensive robotic surgery program in the Tampa Bay area now offers the latest in minimally-invasive procedures: the ability to remove a gallbladder through just one small incision in the bellybutton.
Dr. David F. Echevarria performed the first single site robotic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) last week at St. Joseph's Hospital's Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery. This is the latest milestone for the program that pioneered robotic-assisted surgery in Tampa in 2002.
"Our goal is get patients back to their normal lives as safely and quickly as possible," Dr. Echevarria said. "With this technique, patients are in and out of the hospital the same day. Patients generally experience less pain, minimal scaring and a faster return to work and other daily activities."
There was a time when gallbladder surgery brought an unsettling picture to the mind: a huge, diagonal scar just below the ribcage. In the 1990s, advancement of laparoscopic surgery offered patients benefits of minimally invasive surgery, including less scarring and reduced pain. Today, single site robotic cholecystectomy takes this procedure to a whole new level.
"With the Single-Site da Vinci®Surgery, we only have to make one incision about two centimeters long at the navel. Through the small opening, we insert a tiny robotic camera and flexible working instruments," Dr. Echevarria said. "The camera provides high-definition, three-dimensional look inside the body, allowing me to see details not possible with the naked eye. The instruments, which I control from a console near the patient, are like miniature versions of my own hands, but with even greater dexterity and steadiness. The result is a safe, effective operation that often leaves no scar and allows patients to quickly get back to their usual routine."
In addition to single site gallbladder surgery, St. Joseph's Hospital offers robotic-assisted colorectal surgery, general surgery, gynecological surgery, gynecological/oncology surgery, pediatric urological surgery, and urological surgery.
"Our Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery is like none other," said Lorraine Lutton, chief operating officer for St. Joseph's Hospital. "We are fortunate to have 20 highly-trained surgeons offering more than 40 different robotic-assisted procedures, backed by an experienced surgical team that is truly dedicated to providing excellent patient care."
St. Joseph's Hospital was the first in hospital in Florida to use the da Vinci® robotic surgery system for general surgery, and now has two da Vinci® robots – one at St. Joseph's Hospital and one across the street at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital. The Advanced Center for Robotic Surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital continues to blaze a trail by adding physicians with specialized services. Dr. Echevarria, a Tampa native whose clinical interests include advanced laparoscopic surgery, general surgery, robotic surgery and surgical oncology including breast, liver and pancreatic cancers, is Board Certified in General Surgery and has been in surgical practice for 20 years.