Amarillo, TX - A local doctor is now performing a new surgery described as being both safer and less painful for patients.
Dr. Douglas Wyatt is now using the da Vinci Robot to perform single-site gallbladder surgery at Northwest Texas Hospital. He is the only general surgeon in the Panhandle performing this type of surgery.
Before now, doctors had to make four incisions with the high-tech robot to remove the gallbladder. Now they can make just one incision through the patient's belly button.
During the surgery, Dr. Wyatt sits at the machine and conducts the entire surgery through a 3D viewfinder while he manipulates different instruments. Others insert the tools he needs into the robot so he can maneuver them inside his patient's body.
Dr. Wyatt said bringing this type of technology to the area is necessary to keep up with larger cities. "It's very important. It's new in the Panhandle, but it's not new surgery. Other people elsewhere have been doing this for two years. So it's very important that you can have this done here."
He said the main benefit of the technology is that it makes the surgery safer for patients. "With the robot, I can move the gallbladder left and right, up and down and see wherever I need to see to get a better visualization. Looking through my surgeon's monitor, it's a 3D, high-def visualization that gives you a much better view than looking at the screens that are up in the room."
He said once the surgery is completed, patients generally have less pain than surgeries with multiple incisions. Right now, the FDA has only approved single-site surgery for gallbladders and hysterectomies.