Helping claws: Robotic-assisted surgery benefits patients

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A doctor sitting at a screen manipulating a robot’s arms to conduct surgery may sound like a scene from a science fiction novel, but in reality, robot-assisted surgery is revolutionizing health care around the world — including in Joplin.For the past decade, surgeons at Mercy Hospital Joplin, have used a robotic surgical device to help lessen the invasiveness of surgical procedures ranging from hysterectomies to general surgery.The system got an upgrade earlier this year when officials purchased the latest device: an Intuitive Da Vinci Xi.
The new system allows surgeons to place the robot’s arms closer together without worrying about them colliding. The cameras provide a better visual, and a new addition allows them to examine blood flow while doing precise procedures.Why robots?Dr. Kenneth Watts, a general surgeon at Mercy Joplin, said robot-assisted surgery allows surgeons a way to conduct procedures using a small incision.Robotic assistance differs from previous laparoscopic options because the arms have a similar rotation to the human hand.In many surgeries, Watts said, because the procedure is less invasive, the need for post-operative pain medication is reduced. Often it allows surgeons to send patients home the next day and in …

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