Bartlett Regional Hospital showcases its new Da Vinci Surgical System robot

    Photo of the Bartlett team who completed the first robotics case. Photo provided by BRH.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Bartlett Regional Hospital held an open house on the afternoon of May 15th to showcase its new Da Vinci Surgical System.

    Bartlett Regional Hospital held an open house to show residents the robot from 4:30 PM - 6 PM Monday in the lobby of the hospital.

    Visitors of the open house were allowed to test out the robot by "operating" on candy in which they had to try and remove the wrapping with the robot's tools.

    ( A close-up of the robot in action taking a closer look at a five-dollar bill. The camera has 10x magnification, allowing for greater detail. Photo taken by Jordan Lewis/KINY)

    Dr. Nicholas Newbury joined KINY on Capital Chat the morning of the open house and spoke on what the system brings to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

    "The DaVinci surgical system is a robotic-assisted modality to help with advanced minimally invasive surgery," Newbury said. "So this has been a long, long wait to get the robot here. And you know, we've been working on this for about four-plus years now. And so we're excited to bring that technology to our operating room. It's going to allow us to do a lot more complicated surgical procedures as well as bringing in additional surgical specialties that rely heavily on the advanced technology of the robotic system."

    Dr. Emily Rosenfeld spoke with News of The North on some of the advantages the new machine offers during the open house.

    "So one of the main advantages of the robotic system is it is a minimally invasive system for surgery. So, these patients can have a really major surgery done with very small incisions, which means a better recovery time," she said. "It takes patients less time to recover and then a lower complication rate typically. And another one of the advantages of the robot and specifically is it has the ability to do a little bit more complex surgery than we'd be able to do typically with like a straight stick laparoscopy type method."

    (The control system used to operate the robot. Photo taken by Jordan Lewis/KINY)

    Laparoscopic surgery is a less invasive surgical method that involves small incisions being made to allow for the insertion of a camera and surgical tools as opposed to opening up the patient with open surgery.

    Kim McDowell, the Chief Nursing Operator, and Chief Operating Officer talked about what it took to get the machine at Bartlett and on the history of medical robots.

    "While it took a lot, you know, as we know, we are a city entity," McDowell said. "And so really being able to show the benefits of what robotics can do here for our community and for the hospital, I guess was the biggest one because it's an unknown. So doing a lot of the research, doing PowerPoint presentations to our board, sharing that information with the City Assembly, and then showing the benefits and outlining the benefits of having a robotics program and what it can do for patients."

    "The first robot robotic surgery or robot that was created was back I think in the 1950s and was orthopedic related just for like knee surgeries. From there it's kind of grown we are number eight, the eighth robot in the state, and the 10th hospital that has one, and the only one in the southeast that has one," she added.

    (A top-down view of the machine as a guest attempts to unwrap a candy. Photos by Jordan Lewis/KINY)

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