TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center now has a few extra hands on staff. It's called the da Vinci surgical system.
"When you're performing surgeries, specifically long surgeries, in tight spaces having the surgical precision of the robot is very helpful," said Dr. Daniel Ramirez, Urology Associates, TriStar Hendersonville.
Dr. Ramirez has a steady hand, but even the best surgeons say robotic technology can help with some minimally invasive procedures.
"Any kind of [hand] tremor that the surgeon might have is eliminated by the joysticks on the control," he said.
He says while the technology is not new itself (the system has been used for more than three million minimally invasive procedures) it is new for TriStar Hendersonville.
"Having the robot here in Hendersonville is great because it offers patients on this side of Nashville the opportunity to be able to have surgery using robotic instrument without having to go into Nashville proper," he said.
When you hear robotics, you may think automation, but da Vinci is still just a tool to assist a surgical team.
"There's a common misconception that the robot performs the surgery. It's not an automated device. The robot only moves when the surgeon allows it to move, so the surgeon is in 100-percent in-control during the procedure."
With the da Vinci surgical system, surgeons operate through just a few small incisions. The system features a magnified 3D, high-definition vision system and tiny-wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand.
"It's not necessarily appropriate for every patient, but for certain circumstances, the robotic devices certainly help with visualization for the surgeon, decreasing blood loss during and after surgery and also improving recovery after surgery with regards to length of stay - getting back to normal activity," he said.
The robot can be used for a variety of surgical specialties including urology, gynecology, and cardiology. For more information click here.