Expanding Arms of Robotic Surgery


Traditional surgery involves an open incision. Laparoscopic surgery uses small incisions but, until recently, was generally limited to simple procedures. Now more complex surgical procedures can be accomplished with a robotic system using the smallest of incisions-often through a natural orifice-meaning less pain, minimal or no visible scarring, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery for patients.


The "daVinci Team" at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is a group of operating room specialists dedicated to minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures. They are highly trained and many have been involved in the program since its inception. The program began with one daVinci robot purchased with the help of generous community support to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation. Currently the hospital has the third generation, state-of-the-art robotic system and offers more minimally invasive procedures than ever before.




 Learn more about the da Vinci system >>

The benefits are countless and the technology is advancing rapidly. Dr. Phillip West recently performed Cottage's first robotic esophageal myotomy to correct a patient's restricted esophagus. And patients who have thyroid surgery no longer have a scar across their necks; instead only a small lateral incision is made under the arm.


More and more physicians and other hospitals outside of the region are embracing the technology and requesting certification and training at SBCH. The Cottage team is more than willing to help in this collegial sharing of information among hospitals.


Mary Meola, administrative director of surgical services at SBCH observes, "What's unique to Cottage is that it has the best of both worlds. It's a teaching hospital and it's community-based. We have all of the sophisticated technology here but also we have staff being empowered to make decisions and give feedback to improve processes."


What's on the horizon? A new robotic system enabling surgeons to perform procedures with a single incision. And for the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital scheduled to open in early 2012...a centrally located robotic surgical suite that will provide easy access to the operating room for various service lines.


With support from the highly trained team at Cottage, surgeons are performing minimally invasive procedures including these:

•    Tumor removal
•    Urological Procedures:
      •   Prostatectomy - to remove an enlarged prostate causing urinary problems
      •   Partial and total nephrectomy - kidney removal
      •   Pyeloplasty - kidney reconstruction
•    Gynecological Procedures:
      •   Hysterectomy - removal of the uterus
      •   Myomectomy - removal of uterine fibroids
      •   Endometriosis treatment
  Video-assisted thoracic surgery (vats) to diagnose and treat conditions in the chest and lungs


Physicians currently performing robotic assisted surgical procedures at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital:

Gynecology  •  Dr. Carin Craig
   •  Dr. Margaret Echt
   •  Dr. David Raphael
   •  Dr. Anne Rodriguez
   •  Dr. Ralph Quijano
Thoracic Surgery  •  Dr. Benedict Taylor
   •  Dr. Phillip West
Urology  •  Dr. Daniel Curhan
   •  Dr. Alex Koper
   •  Dr. David Laub


By Colette Briere | Photo By Glenn Dubock


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Nov 2011 u/d 092513