|By Shannon Muchmore, Tulsa World, Okla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The Da Vinci surgical system previously has been used at St. John for gynecological, urological and other procedures.
It is now also being used for some thoracic surgeries that require access to organs such as the heart, lungs and esophagus.
A surgery done with the robot typically involves a smaller incision, less pain and a shorter stay at the hospital than general surgery. The equipment is expensive, however, and has its limitations.
"It's not without pain, but it's considerably less," said
She is happy not to have a large scar and said the healing time was relatively short.
"It's healed OK," she said. "I feel good."
A surgical robot typically costs about
The reduction in hospital stays in the past 18 months at St. John ranges from 15 percent for gynecological surgeries to 85 percent for thoractomies, according to figures provided by the hospital.
The costs to the patient and to insurance companies are typically the same as with regular surgery, said
A surgeon can't feel anything with his hands during a robotic surgery, and if a tumor needs to be removed, a larger incision will still need to be made, he said.
Not all procedures should be performed with robotic surgery, he added.
"The bottom line with any operation is to be effective and safe," Garrett said.
The reduction in scarring and pain and shorter hospital stay, however, make robotic surgery the right choice for many patients, he said.
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