Via Christi adds third da Vinci Surgical System, robotic training simulator
A new virtual-reality training simulator is helping surgeons at Via Christi Hospital on Harry improve their proficiency with the minimally invasive da Vinci Si Surgical System®.
Via Christi Hospital is the first in Kansas to acquire the da Vinci Skills Simulator, which looks and feels like the real thing, but allows surgeons to use virtual needles and objects to perform a variety of exercises.
It’s also the only Kansas hospital with three da Vinci systems.
“We’re the area’s leading robotic surgery program in terms of experience and physician preference,” said Brian Swallow, director of Surgical Services for Via Christi Hospital on Harry. “We recently added our third robot to keep up with the demand and the simulator to help physicians train for the increasingly complex cases for which the da Vinci system is being used.”
Swallow is excited to have the skills simulator, which provides surgeons with objective feedback on their performance when they complete an exercise and can track their progress on the device over time as they work to improve their skills in a non-clinical environment.
“We had surgeons training on it immediately,” Swallow said.
Via Christi introduced robotic surgery, which allows surgeries such as prostatectomies and hysterectomies to be performed with only a few small incisions, to the area with the installation of its first da Vinci system in late 2007. Via Christi added a second system in 2010. Since its introduction to the area, the da Vinci system has been used to perform more than 2,000 surgeries at Via Christi.
Today, 98 percent of the prostatectomies and 79 percent of the hysterectomies performed at Via Christi are done with the help of the robotic system.
“It’s increasingly popular among physicians and their patients, who recover faster and with less pain,” said Swallow, noting that it has gone from being used by three physicians — OB/GYN James Delmore, MD, and urologists A.J. Farha, MD, and Gregory Byrd, MD — to 37.
It’s also being used to perform gastrointestinal and kidney surgeries. In addition, Philip Harris, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Via Christi Clinic, has been using the robotic system to perform head and neck cancer surgeries and refractory sleep apnea.