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Mercy Hospital of Folsom acquires robotic surgery system

By From page A4 | July 18, 2012

FOLSOM — When 44-year-old Carmen Artiga had a massive cyst on her ovary removed and a hysterectomy, she wasn’t familiar with the state-of-the-art da Vinci surgical system her obstetrician used for the minimally-invasive surgery at Mercy Hospital of Folsom, but she’s glad he had it.

“The incisions were a half-inch long around my belly button and after the surgery they felt like when you cut your finger, a paper cut,” said Artiga. “And I know how it feels after open surgery. I’ve had three c-sections.”

Mercy Hospital of Folsom surgeons have started using the latest in robotic assisted surgery technology, the da Vinci Si Surgical System, resulting in smaller, more precise incisions, less pain and quicker recovery time for patients.

“This is a significant arrival because of the value it offers to our patients and our surgeons,” said Don Hudson, president, Mercy Hospital of Folsom. “We believe that the new features of the da Vinci system will help us provide the best possible outcomes for our patients. This is another example of our commitment to provide our community access to the latest advancements in minimally invasive surgery.”

With the addition of da Vinci at Mercy Hospital of Folsom, access to minimally invasive surgery has expanded in the broader Sacramento region for Dignity Health, operator of the local Mercy hospitals, Methodist Hospital, Woodland Healthcare and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. Mercy Folsom joins Mercy General Hospital and Mercy San Juan Medical Center in offering this advanced medical technology.

The da Vinci is a robotic surgical system that allows a surgeon to sit at a console, viewing a 3D, high-definition image of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. In real-time, the system translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into more precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient.

Initially, five daVinci-trained Mercy Folsom-affiliated physicians will utilize the system–Afshin Eslami, MD, General Surgeon; Jeffrey Cragun, MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist; Brian Naftulin, MD, Urologist; Timothy Phelan, MD, Obstetrician/ Gynecologist, and Bryan Smith, MD, Urologist.

The da Vinci will enable these specialists, including gynecologists, urologists and general surgeons, to perform surgical procedures such as hysterectomy, prostate gland removal and gall bladder removal in a minimally invasive manner through smaller incisions, resulting in less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries for patients.

Fifty-two year old Catherine Shenck was Mercy Folsom’s first da Vinci case. She had a hysterectomy but she put it off for years, hoping for a minimally invasive approach instead of traditional open surgery. “My mom had a hysterectomy,” she said. “I saw what she had to go through and the less invasive route makes more sense.”

Artiga was amazed by her quick recovery. “I was up and walking the day after surgery,” she said. “I was sore but that’s normal. I was able to get up from bed with ease.”

Timothy Phelan, MD, board certified obstetrician/gynecologist who performed the first procedure at Mercy Hospital of Folsom in June, including both Artiga’s and Shenck’s procedures. “The da Vinci enables us to do more complicated, minimally invasive surgeries with greater precision,” said Dr. Phelan. “The operating room staff at Mercy Folsom has really embraced the new technology, which means so much to me as a doctor. They are a great support team.”

The da Vinci has several unique features designed to provide additional clinical benefits and efficiency in the operating room, many of which translate to patient benefits. Here are a few of those features:

  • Enhanced 3D, high-definition vision of operative field for the surgeon with up to 10x magnification
  • Superior visual clarity of tissue and anatomy
  • Updated and simplified user interface to enhance OR efficiency
  • New ergonomic settings for greater surgeon comfort

Shenck was told about the da Vinci technology and that the procedure was minimally invasive and done a little differently than traditional surgery but she was more impressed that she was up and walking two days after the procedure. “If I’d known it was this easy, I would have done this a lot sooner.”

Press Release


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