Dr. da Vinci is in!

Dr. Robert Boyd
Dr. Robert Boyd

HICKORY, NC –There's a new surgeon in town – and he's got four arms and lots of computer processors. You see, the "surgeon" actually is the da Vinci surgical system, a computerized robot that helps surgeons in the operating rooms.

"Robotic-assisted surgery provides surgeons with a steady set of hands that can hold and manipulate instruments under that the surgeons control. During the procedure, the surgeon's hand movements are translated through the computer to the robot's arms that then do the work. Safety mechanisms are in place to ensure that the robot only moves under control of the surgeon," said Robert Boyd, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist on staff at Frye Regional Medical Center.

The robot helps during laparoscopic surgeries that involve special instruments that are inserted through several small incisions in the body. One of the robot's arms holds a special camera that provides three-dimensional views, which according to Boyd is an improvement over traditional 2-D laparoscopic views, including magnification of the area where the surgeon is working. Surgeons using the da Vinci surgical system report that the robotic instruments move more freely than the human wrist does, enabling them to get the instruments placed at the correct angle. Plus the robot can hold instruments without any of the fine motor movement that a human's hands would have, making the surgery more precise. The robot's arms can get to areas of the body that are harder to reach compared to traditional open and laparoscopic surgery.

Surgeons at Frye may use the da Vinci system for:

  • Hysterectomy
  • Radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland)

What are the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery uses smaller incisions than traditional open surgery. These incisions may be smaller than those in a laparoscopic procedure without robot assistance. These smaller incisions may mean:

  • Faster recovery time
  • Less pain and bleeding
  • Less risk of infection
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Smaller scars

Any surgical procedure has risks, including reactions to medications, difficulty breathing, bleeding and infection.

You should discuss the options for any surgical procedure including whether an open, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted procedure would be more appropriate for your health and condition. You also should discuss the risks and benefits of any procedure before making a decision.

For more information on the da Vinci surgical system as well as physicians who perform robotic-assisted surgery or for physician referral, please contact Frye Regional Medical Center at 828-315-3391.

About Frye Regional Medical Center

Frye Regional Medical Center is an acute care facility that has been servicing the medical and health care needs of Catawba County and central western North Carolina since 1911.

The hospital's main campus includes a comprehensive heart center, accredited cancer center and bariatric surgery program, orthopedics, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, neurosciences, a women's center with level III nursery, a neonatal transport team, and pediatrics.

FryeCare Physicians, LLC provide hospitalists and critical care coverage. Frye has several extended campuses to serve families throughout the area, including FryeCare Outpatient Imaging Center, FryeCare Pulmonology, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Infusion Care, Vein and Wound Center, Piedmont Therapy, offering sports and industrial rehabilitation; South Campus for psychiatric services; The Frye Wellness and Education Center houses an accredited Center for Diabetes Self-Management Care, perinatal education and community wellness classes; Tate Surgery Center; Unifour Pain Treatment Center; and two urgent care facilities—FryeCare Urgent Care in Conover and Hudson.

For employers, Frye provides industrial health services through Hart Industrial Clinic.

Frye Regional Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency.  To learn more about the hospital, visit www.fryemedctr.com. For physician referral, call 828-315-3391.