Though robotic systems can be seen as futuristic, Dr. David Anderson presently uses one on a regular basis.
Anderson, urologist and robotic surgeon at CoxHealth affiliate Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, sat down Oct. 12 at the Tower Club in Hammons Tower with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson as part of the organization's 12 People You Need to Know series.
Anderson was instrumental in bringing the $1.6 million da Vinci Surgical System to the clinic in 2008.
Bringing the equipment to the hospital required crossing several obstacles, including establishing a need with CoxHealth officials and getting approval from Missouri senators.
"It was a bit of a challenge for the first nine months of 2008 when we were getting our robotic unit," Anderson said. "It was an interesting process to be on the front line to bring that technology to the community."
Since 2008, Anderson has performed robotic surgeries on about 100 patients. He works with four others in the clinic's Center for Robotic Surgery.
Anderson said there aren't any greater risks to robotic surgeries than traditional surgeries, and in some cases, robotic surgeries can be safer if in the right hands.
That's not to say the process isn't complicated.
Anderson said he uses a console unit with 3-D viewing and magnification, with both his hands and feet controlling the robot.
Unlike traditional surgery, Anderson sits down while performing surgeries. His hands control joysticks that move the robotic arms, while his feet operate pedals that control electric currency, which arm is active and the camera's angles and magnification levels.
"It's sort of second nature by now," he said.
Robots are typically used in situations calling for more technical guidance, such as prostate surgeries. Anderson said about 70 percent of prostate surgeries are now done robotically.
"The prostate wasn't designed to come out easily, and that's a little tense at times," he said, adding that robotic systems can ease the fears of patients because of the systems' minimal side effects.
Robotic systems also are used for kidney and bladder operations, as well as for gynecology. St. John's also has a da Vinci robotic system, which it purchased about the same time as CoxHealth.[[In-content Ad]]