New-model surgical robot now operating at Lufkin hospital

New-model surgical robot now operating at Lufkin hospital
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - At CHI St. Luke's in Lufkin, the latest technology in robotic surgical equipment is positioned over a 73-year-old man. He's underwent a prostatectomy, where doctors will remove his prostate.

"It allows us to get into spaces we couldn't get into safely before and do things we had a hard time with before. So we can do things much more quickly and easily than before," said Dr. Alan Bassin, a general surgeon at CHI St. Luke's.

It's called 'da Vinci X-I' and in a nutshell makes laparoscopic surgeries even more precise. The robot's arms aren't moving on their own. They're connected to surgical instruments and an H-D camera operated, not by the team of medical professionals surrounding the patient, but Dr. Price who's feet away.

"You have the ability to change from looking up to looking down with just the touch of a button at the surgeon console. Previously you would have to take the camera out yourself, turn it around and put it back in," said Dr. David Price, an urologist at CHI St. Luke's.

He operates from a computer console, controlling the robotic arms with his hands and feet. The camera provides a three dimensional view inside the patient's body, and allows surgeons to work deeper without a large incision.

And you think if it looks similar to driving a car, you'd be right.

"It's a new technology and you've got to get used to it. Like we said, if you were driving a regular vehicle and then you jumped into a Porsche, you've got to pay attention to different things now," Price said.

And while doctors benefit from the advanced technology, patients will as well.

"Less pain, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays," Bassin said.

It's technology that didn't come cheap, with a price tag of $1.9 million. Money doctors at CHI said was well-spent.

"A lot of what we had but better. Kind of like going from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 7," Bassin said.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.