Letters to the Editor

daVinci system not all it’s cracked up to be

By From page A5 | July 24, 2013

EDITOR:

In regards to the “news release” in your paper recently publishes about the daVinci assisted robotic surgery system, there are some disadvantages the readers should know about and are not mentioned in the story. Maybe someone from your staff forgot to vet the article, and the following information is taken from Wikipedia. So there is no bias regarding the information found on Wikipedia, anyone can look at it.

Here are a few of the issues not mentioned in the news release that should have been included for the welfare of those considering this type of surgery.

1.) The practitioners must have a long learning curve and additional training in this new modality is essential. Guidelines are still being established for what establishes “sufficient training” but it’s generally thought that 12 to 18 cases of robotic surgery must be done for the surgeon to “adapt.”

2.) Since it’s a new surgical system, the operations can sometimes take twice as long and this can result in prolonged periods under anesthesia, which can cause problems.

3.) The cost of the daVinci robotic system is usually near $2 million, so there will be a greater incentive for the surgeons to use it. The insurance companies do not pay for additional reimbursement for this robotic system, since the outcome is generally the same as traditional surgery.

There are benefits, no doubt, but do these other factors give the patient a truly better outcome? I suppose time and the experience of the surgeons will tell. It is important for the public to know that there are alternative problems that can happen with even the newest and most “state-of-the-art” medical technology.

HUGH BACA
El Dorado Hills

Letter to the Editor

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