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Beebe launched its Robotic Surgery program in 2018.
Kurt Wehberg, MD, Board Certified and Fellowship Trained cardiothoracic surgeon is helping to develop and build the program for Beebe's Center for Robotic Surgery. Dr. Wehberg has performed more than 500 robotic surgeries over the course of his career. He is the Co-Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Chief of Robotics, and Vice President of Clinical Innovation. Dr. Wehberg performs both traditional and robotically assisted cardiothoracic surgery.
Beebe purchased and installed the da Vinci Xi robotic system in June 2018. Intuitive Surgical, Beebe’s partner in the creation of the robotic surgery program, worked with Beebe team members to train them on the protocols and procedures.
Meet the da Vinci Xi Robot
Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery
The first procedures performed by Beebe’s Center for Robotic Surgery team will be thoracic surgeries or those procedures on the lungs, esophagus, or organs of the central part of the body.
Patients with lung cancer have options. In the past, lung surgery was an open procedure. Now, Beebe is able to offer a minimally invasive alternative.
Benefits of Robotically Assisted Surgery
As the medical director of Beebe Healthcare’s burgeoning robotic surgery program, Dr. Wehberg knows the advantages of this minimally invasive surgery method.
Patients who have robotic surgery heal better and have shorter hospital stays. In addition, robotic surgery technology is always improving, and in many cases, surgeons assisted by robotic surgery systems can actually perform complex surgeries better than a human can without robotic assistance. This is because robotic surgery systems like the da Vinci Xi have a full 360-degree range of motion and greater visualization, whereas humans are limited by our bone structure.
Robotic surgery is like a symphony, so each person in the room has a part to play and they all have to be excellent. Luckily, Dr. Wehberg’s commitment to creating a family culture means his team runs like a well-oiled machine. “Robotics is an exciting field and we are
very excited to lay the groundwork for this incredible program here at Beebe,” says PA-C Ty Huskey, medical educator.
What will your surgeon do?
During robotic-assisted surgery, your surgeon will use a 3D high-definition camera for a magnified and clear view of your lungs.
The surgeon will sit at a console next to you and operate through a few small incisions using tiny instruments, including a camera.
Your surgeon will operate through the gaps between your ribs, without having to open the ribs.
Your surgeon fully controls all instruments. Every hand movement is translated by the da Vinci system in real-time to bend and rotate the instruments so the surgeon can remove the tumor.
Thoracic Procedures at Beebe
There are different types of lung cancer procedures and depending on your type of cancer and recommendations from your care team, you might be able to have minimally invasive robotic surgery procedures including:
- Wedge resection - surgical removal of a triangular slice of tissue or tumor
- Lobectomy - surgical removal of a section of lung
- Pneumonectomy - surgical removal of an entire lung.
All surgery carries with it some amount of risk. With robotic surgery, patients can expect less scarring, quicker recovery time, and more precise removal of tumors. Studies have shown:
- Patients experience less blood loss
- Lower risk of infection
- Patients in 86% of cases are released from the hospital sooner.
Talk to your care team about whether you might be a candidate for robotically assisted surgery.