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Community Hospital North offers next generation surgical robotic technology; Latest innovations in da Vinci surgical robot allow increased precision, safety, improved rate of recovery

For release on July 26, 2011

Indianapolis, IN---Community Hospital North is the first hospital in Indiana to acquire three new units of next generation da Vinci surgical robotic technology. These models feature a robotic simulator, fluorescence imaging and a dual console, all recently added to Community North’s set of surgical equipment. The technology allows for precise visualization during surgery, incorporating more advanced features. Community is the only Indiana hospital equipped with the da Vinci skills simulator—and one of the first hospitals in only 16 states to offer fluorescence imaging technology.

The advanced robotic platform of the da Vinci is equipped with high definition 3-D cameras, which allow doctors to better see the surgical site and instruments, increasing dexterity and control. The newest Si surgical system is an updated and enhanced model, with better picture quality and enhanced features. In addition to improved control, the Si model offers increased comfort for surgeons, as well as integrated technology and greater operating room efficiency. For patients, the new technology translates into less pain, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays, a lower rate of complications and excellent clinical outcomes.

The newly added robotic simulator acts as a virtual trainer and includes multiple exercises to assist doctors in practicing surgical skills and techniques. Through the exercises, doctors can increase their familiarity with the machine and their da Vinci proficiency, helping them become more prepared and successful when using the robotic technology during surgery. The simulator also allows doctors to track their practice progress and even “warm up” prior to surgery. Additionally, fluorescence imaging technology makes it possible for imaging during surgery, increasing the safety of the procedure and amplifying precision. The da Vinci technology is currently used by specialists in urology and gynecology at Community Hospital North for various surgical procedures and is projected to also be useful in bariatrics.

Jason Sprunger, M.D., a urologist with Urology of Indiana, practicing at Community Hospital North, uses this technology to increase his precision when performing a partial nephrectomy (removal of a kidney tumor). Previously, the diagnosis of a kidney tumor often called for the removal of the entire kidney, or for the removal of enough of the kidney to render it non-functional following surgery. Community’s da Vinci technology overcomes the limits of traditional surgeries to expand the surgeon’s natural capabilities. The use of the da Vinci robotic surgery model makes it possible to remove just the tumor and a small portion of tissue, leaving the kidney intact. Now, with the addition of the new imaging technology, which highlights the healthy tissue, even less viable tissue is removed. Also, with increased precision comes shorter surgical times, which decreases the time of constricted blood flow, as well as tissue and blood loss.

According to Dr. Sprunger, “With the new da Vinci systems in place, we now have better technology, such as the fluorescent imaging, for performing the robotic partial nephrectomies.”

Community Hospital North has also added a dual console to its da Vinci arsenal, making it possible for two doctors from different specialties to operate at the same time. The dual console allows both doctors to use separate units, but view the same surgery site on their individual screens. The doctors can then work together, completing different tasks. Also helpful in training, the dual console can be used by a mentoring surgeon and learning resident in a “watch and repeat” approach. While using the dual console, the mentor can perform a task with the resident watching and then “hand over” the robotic tools to the resident using a separate unit, who can then repeat the task learned.

These latest advancements in da Vinci technology allow gynecologists, urologists and colorectal surgeons to better serve their patients and augment the success of surgery in multiple areas.

About Community Health Network

Ranked among the nation’s most integrated healthcare systems, Community Health Network is Central Indiana’s leader in access to innovative and compassionate healthcare services, where and when patients need them—in hospitals, in convenient health pavilions and doctor’s offices, in the workplace, at schools, in the home and online. As a non-profit health system with multiple sites of care and affiliates throughout Indiana, Community’s full continuum of care integrates hundreds of physicians, acute care and specialty hospitals, surgery centers, physician offices, home care services, walk-in care centers and employer health services. To put the needs and the convenience of patients first, Community pioneers advanced treatments and world-class health information technologies, with a focus on ease of access to exceptional care.


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Curt Miller
Media Relations