Robotic surgery

Yuri Reinberg, MD, operates the robotic arms as part of a repair of an obstructed megaureter

Yuri Reinberg, MD, operates the robotic arms as part of a repair of an obstructed megaureter.

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Quicker patient recovery, reduced pain, and improved cosmetics are among the benefits of a new robotic surgical technology offered by Children's of Minnesota through a partnership with Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Sitting at a control console, surgeons operate robotic arms, a tiny camera, and surgical tools through the use of a joystick-like controller and foot pedals. Although the technology makes it possible for surgeons to operate on patients on the other side of the world, the console is typically located in or adjacent to the operating room.

"Robotics allows us to perform complex surgeries using only very small, laparoscopic-type incisions," explained Yuri Reinberg, MD, a pediatric urologist at Pediatric Surgical Associates and a Children's of Minnesota professional staff member. "It's a remark able technology that has many benefits for patients and for surgeons."

Reduced bleeding, pain, and length of hospitalization are a direct result of the smaller incisions made possible by the robotic technology. Its three-dimensional magnification ability also provides surgeons with unprecedented access during surgical procedures.

The robotic arms are capable of executing the most precise incisions and procedures. Not every patient is a candidate for robotics surgery — a patient's overall health, size, and history of multiple surgeries are among the factors that could preclude eligibility.

For patients who meet eligibility requirements, however, the advantages are compelling. "The benefits for patients are very clear," said Reinberg, who has been trained in robotic surgery at Intuitive Surgical (the manufacturer of the robotic device) and Indiana University Hospital. "There is less post-operative pain, shorter recovery times with fewer restrictions for returning to activities, and great cosmetic results."

Robotic surgery is used to perform a growing list of surgical procedures. For consultation or referral, call Children's Physician Access at (612) 343-2121 or (866) 755-2121.