Cookeville Regional Medical Center will take the first step toward becoming a Robotics Center Of Excellence by purchasing a new Da Vinci robot system.
“This is a way to get better outcomes with the same or similar operation using the robot as a tool,” General & Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Charles Huddleston said.
The Medical Center Board of Trustees approved the purchased of the Da Vinci XI System to replace the center’s seven year-old system. The price tag of the new system: $2.243 million. But CRMC will go further with a second robot to expand its ability to do robotic surgeries.
Urogynecologist Dr. Bert Geer has performed more than 1,500 robotic surgeries. He said they produce better results for patients with fewer complications.
“Get them out the door faster, get them back to work sooner, have less narcotic usage,” Geer said.
Cookeville Regional CEO Paul Korth said hospital stays can be reduced by as much as 50 percent using robotics.
Huddleston said while the robot may make the same number of incisions as a surgeon, it makes them more accurately.
“The tissue manipulation is so much more detailed because of the visualization,” Huddleston said. “There’s less bruising and less trauma to the tissue around where you’re working. Incredibly, it does translate to less pain.”
And that leads to reduced usage of opiods and narcotics to treat the pain.
Geer said the robotics program has helped Cookeville Regional drastically reduce the number of open hysterectomies. The national average, Geer said, stands close to 50 percent. Cookeville Regional’s average stands at less than two percent.
“We’ve made huge progress at Cookeville,” Geer said. “We’re making big changes. I think over the next 20 years, gosh I think it will be the standard. If you’re not doing robotics, you’re not doing it right.
Only one other hospital in the state has been certified for robotics excellence in the area of colon surgeries. Huddleston said his team does some 250 bariatric surgeries per year.
“But if we can see those patients with less pain, no narcotics going home and just as good if not better outcomes, then it was a no-brainer to add this to our repertoire,” Huddleston said.
Geer said the center of excellence project will be multi-faceted, all centered on better service to local consumers.
“Making sure that are quality exceeds the national average and making it more than just a surgical tool,” Geer said. “That involves making sure our staff is trained above and beyond what the normal is. And making sure our surgeons are better than anyone else’s.”
The hospital estimates the additional robotic tools will allow CRMC to conduct 140 additional procedures in the first 12 months.