Robotic surgery helps docs improve efficiency, outcomes
ARM’S LENGTH: Dr. W. Scott Walker, the first Lifespan surgeon to perform single-site robotic gynecologic surgery, said advances in robotic technology “really makes [him] a better surgeon.”
By Barbara Lipsche PBN Staff Writer
Dr. W. Scott Walker is the first Lifespan surgeon to perform single-site robotic gynecologic surgery in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Part of a second phase of surgeons across the country selected for training in this highly technical field, Walker has performed more than 300 multiincision OB/GYN robotic surgeries, including ovarian cystectomy and surgery for endometriosis.
Robotic single-site surgery is part of an innovative, new approach to hysterectomy surgery, which involves the removal of a woman’s uterus. The single-site surgery is performed through only one incision, about an inch long, in a woman’s bellybutton. Walker lauds this type of surgery as an effective advancement to robotic laparoscopic surgeries, which are usually performed through multiple incisions.
PBN: How did you become the first surgeon in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to perform the single-site robotic hysterectomy?
WALKER: I've been doing robotic surgery since 2010. I'm the highest-volume robotic surgeon in the area. I was approached by Intuitive Surgical, the company that makes the daVinci robot (used to do the surgery) to be one of the initial surgeons, so that when the formal rollout of single-site hysterectomy in the beginning of 2014 comes they'll have experienced surgeons for case observations and teaching.
PBN: Why is robotic technology becoming increasingly important to the medical field?
WALKER: It's really been a logical extension of minimally invasive surgical techniques, which have taken over in all fields of surgery. There are still some difficulties with really complex gynecologic surgeries. The advantages of robotic surgery, which include wristed instruments that can move like my hands and the ability to operate in 3-D with high-definition cameras, really makes me a better surgeon. It's kind of like being miniaturized. Once you do the surgery for a while it's almost like you're not even thinking about the robot and the instruments. You're just moving your hands as if you were holding onto the instruments directly.