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Robotic-Assisted Surgeries Lead to Shorter Stays at Piedmont Fayette

Fayetteville, Ga. (April 1, 2021) Sheena Lowe has had a long career in healthcare. She spent 24 years with Southern Regional Hospital and has been a unit secretary for Piedmont Fayette Hospital for 19 years. When she found out she would need surgery for a colorectal resection, as well as to remove her gallbladder and repair a herniated tear, she thought the process might be difficult and involve a complicated surgery and long recovery time. James Franklin, M.D., a surgeon at Piedmont Fayette, explained the entire process to her and stated that with robotic-assisted surgery, the incisions would be small and recovery time would be much faster.

“I was up and walking four hours after surgery,” Lowe said. “I was in the hospital for a few days and back at work a few weeks after that.”

Robotic-assisted surgery involves a surgeon console, a patient cart, and a vision cart. The surgeon sits at the console and controls the instruments on the patient cart while viewing the anatomy in high definition 3D. The patient cart is positioned next to the bed, which can move to give the surgeon and staff better access and vision. The patient cart holds the camera and the instruments controlled by the surgeon at the console. The vision cart communicates between the components and grants the surgeon an incredible depth of vision in a three-dimensional view of the area they are working on. These advances in imaging, both before and during the procedure, allow the surgeon and surgical team to make the best approach.

“The robot is really just an extension of my hands, but the entire system allows me to grasp, cut, seal, and see better,” said Dr. Franklin. “The technology allows me to have greater dexterity and precision without needing to have larger incisions. It is so much better for our patients. There is much less pain and they are able to resume regular activities much faster.”

Dr. Franklin was the first surgeon in the Piedmont system to complete gallbladder removal with the da Vinci surgical system and performed the first robotic colon resection at Piedmont Fayette. He has also served as Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and is presently on the Medical Executive Committee helping guide hospital vision and growth.

Piedmont Healthcare launched their robotic-assisted surgery program launched in 2010 and has passed 15,000 robotic-assisted procedures. This is a significant milestone for the program which is one of only a handful of large volume robotic programs in the country. Piedmont’s program also ranks in the top 20 percent globally in the number of robotic procedures it performs. Piedmont performs roughly 400 surgeries, per robot, per year.

Ultimately, a robotic-assisted surgical procedure is just another treatment option for a patient and their physician to consider. At a difficult time in their lives and facing a challenging diagnosis, a procedure that can potentially lead to shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times makes a positive difference in the lives of a patient and their loved ones.

To find out more about robotic-assisted surgical procedures, visit piedmont.org.

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