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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Revolutionary Robotic Technology--the da Vinci Surgical System

hearing the name da Vinci inspires thoughts of a visionary, an inventor and an extraordinary artist of epic proportion. The da Vinci Surgical System, used for a variety of complex medical procedures, pays homage to this great artist and inventor, both in terms of its advanced technological

Since early 2005, David Sowden, MD, a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon with Fort Wayne Cardiovascular Surgeons, has been using this state-of-the-art equipment to perform select procedures at Parkview Hospital's Randallia campus. He has repaired atrial septal heart defects in adults, as well as removing thymus glands, and has the ability to repair mitral valves in adult patients. In all, he has touched the lives of nearly two-dozen patients so far, including one who traveled from northern Michigan to take advantage of this technology.

What makes the da Vinci system so unique is the fact that it is actually a robotic surgery system operated from a console. The surgeon looks into the console and uses master hand controls and foot pedals to operate any or all of the four robotic arms positioned over a patient. These arms hold the necessary instruments and mimic the surgeon's movements, which can actually be scaled down to address the most intricate surgical maneuvers. "The technology is unbelievable," says Dr. Sowden. "The instruments themselves are like wrists and attach to the robotic arms. And, although the controls follow the movements of the physician's hands, the system filters out any fine tremors that might occur."

But this system doesn't simply duplicate procedures traditionally done by surgeons as they stand over

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