University Hospital in Newark expands robotic surgery offerings

University Hospital in Newark now has two new da Vinci Robotic-Assisted Surgery Systems. The state’s only public hospital said it recently acquired the computer-controlled robotic instruments to assist it in surgical procedures such as liver and kidney surgeries, cardiothoracic procedures, colon resections and more.

According to Intuitive, the manufacturers of the da Vinci systems, University Hospital is one of only three acute care hospitals in New Jersey with both the da Vinci Xi and da Vinci SP robotic surgery units and the only hospital in Essex County to offer both platforms. University Hospital is also one of the few that utilize the robotic surgery approach across such a wide range of specialties.

Robotic surgery is an advanced form of minimally invasive surgery, or surgery in which surgeons use computer-controlled robotic instruments to assist them in certain procedures.

The da Vinci robot’s “hands” have a high degree of dexterity and range of motion, allowing surgeons the ability to operate in very tight spaces in the body that would otherwise only be accessible through a much larger incision during open surgery.

When performing robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, the surgeon works from a separate console adjacent to the operating table. From the console, the surgeon is able to control miniaturized instruments mounted on three robotic arms to perform the procedure. The surgeon’s view is achieved through a 3D camera attached to a fourth robotic arm, magnifying the surgical site. The surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements are transmitted from the console to the instruments attached to the robot’s arms.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, CEO and president of University Hospital, said: “The playing field has leveled, now that we have more advanced, surgical technologies. Robotic surgery is just one way we are delivering the very best care to people in Newark and throughout the region.”

For patients, the benefits of robotic surgery include smaller incisions and reduced risk of infection, shorter hospitalization, reduced pain and discomfort, faster recovery time and return to normal activities, minimal scarring and reduced blood loss.

“Our comprehensive team of surgeons are all very excited to expand our robotic surgery repertoire here at University Hospital,” said Dr. Dylan Roden, chair of the Robotics Committee at University Hospital and assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “The major advantage of this state-of-the-art technology is that it helps our patients avoid more invasive procedures, allowing them to recover faster and spend less time in the hospital.”

With this new technology, University Hospital is set to increase its capacity to serve nearly 250 patients in need of these services each year. There are 14 different University Hospital surgeons who have undergone the extensive training and certification needed to perform robotic surgical procedures, and cover all major specialties including ear, nose and throat, cardiothoracic, urology, gynecology, hepatobiliary, surgical oncology, colorectal and general surgery.