Robot Used in Minimally Invasive Surgery Visits Galleria

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September 22, 2008

Western New Yorkers who were visiting the Walden Galleria Mall on September 19th had a chance to meet the daVinci™ robot used in minimally invasive surgery at Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital of Buffalo. Mercy Hospital is one of only a handful of hospitals in upstate New York to offer daVinci™ Robotic Surgery, an advanced surgical system that can treat prostate cancer and some heart conditions. Currently, The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital is the only cardiac surgery program in the local region that uses this robotic-assisted minimally invasive technology.

During the free, hands-on demonstrations of the daVinci™ robot, community members were given the opportunity to operate the surgeon’s console- the “command center for the surgeon”- and the four-armed robotic unit which contains the tiny surgical tools. Participants also viewed the highly magnified, three-dimensional images of the surgical field and maneuvered the special hand controls of the robot.

Today, thanks to a new generation of robotic surgical technology, equipped with enhanced computer capabilities and the most delicate and nimble surgical instrumentation, surgeons across the country and throughout the world are discovering the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery for a variety of clinical applications. Urologists at Mercy Hospital began using the daVinci™ Surgical System in 2005 for prostate cancer surgery. Dr. Anthony Ricottone, M.D., a urologist with WNY Urology Associates, performed the first “daVinci™ Prostatectomy” at Mercy Hospital in March 2005. Dr. Ricottone and other urologists from WNY Urology Associates, including Dr. Christopher Kopp, Dr. Richard Gilbert, Dr. Christopher Skomra, Dr. John Roehmholdt, and Dr. Phillip Seereiter, continue using the daVinci™ robot for minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery and other urological procedures that results in faster recovery and less pain and scarring for the patient.

Dr. John Bell-Thomson, M.D., Chairman of Mercy Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, recently began using the robotic-assisted surgical system for minimally-invasive cardiac procedures. “We are fortunate to have this highly advanced surgical tool that can significantly benefit our patients with shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries,” said Dr. Bell-Thomson.

First approved by the FDA in 2000 to perform delicate prostate cancer surgery, the daVinci™ Surgical System is breaking new ground in all areas of urologic, cardiovascular, gynecologic, and general surgery, improving clinical outcomes and redefining standards of care. The system at Mercy Hospital is used to perform minimally-invasive urological and cardiovascular surgical procedures.

To learn more about the benefits of this state-of-the-art robotic technology at Mercy Hospital, log-on to or call Catholic Health’s HealthConnection at (716) 706-2112.