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Hoag Leads Nation in Robotic Surgery

The robots started showing up around 10 years ago.

Back then, a few intrepid surgeons began honing their skills in the then-nascent field of robotic surgery, an area of medicine that promised faster recovery times and more delicate, intricate surgical approaches. Soon Hoag was a leader in this exceptional field of medicine.

Today, Hoag is a national leader in robotic surgery.

No other program involves 84 nurses and surgical technicians, as well as 42 surgeons representing 10 surgical specialties. Hoag is one of only two programs in the nation to be designated an Executive Enrichment Center for Robots by Intuitive Surgical. And the Surgical Review Corporation named Hoag a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery (COERS), a designation reserved for health care institutions that consistently deliver the safest, highest-quality care in robotics.

“Hoag consistently stands out in robotic surgery due to our commitment to evidenced-based, leading edge medicine,” said John (Jeb) V. Brown, M.D., medical director of Hoag’s Gynecologic Robotics Program. “As an institution, we are naturally inclined toward the tools and techniques that will lead to better results for our patients. In many cases, robotic surgery provides those tools and techniques.”

While robotics is still just one tool in a surgeon’s armamentarium, this advanced computer-assisted technology is becoming the standard of care for many procedures in a variety of areas of expertise at Hoag, including cancer, women’s health, cardiovascular conditions and general surgery. Hoag is the fourth-highest volume provider of robotic-assisted surgeries in the nation.

“We will soon exceed more than 10,000 cases at Hoag’s Newport Beach location alone, something only two other programs have achieved,” said Michael Ricks, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hoag. “We continue to invest in these state-of-the-art tools because our patients expect and deserve the best that medicine has to offer.”

Hoag currently has six robots, each one paid for by philanthropy, at its two hospital campuses: four da Vinci® Xi robots and one da Vinci® Si robot in Newport Beach, and one Xi robot in Irvine.

For some patients, robotic surgery allows surgeons to do things they couldn’t otherwise achieve. For instance, in mitral valve repair surgery, robotics allows surgeons to forgo an open-chest procedure and perform a valve repair instead of a full replacement, which studies have shown is more beneficial to the patient.

“This technology has allowed surgeries that were once invasive to become outpatient procedures,” Dr. Brown said. “This minimizes pain and discomfort, and eliminates the need for a hospital stay. ‘Robotic surgery’ still sounds exotic to many patients, but in reality it is often synonymous with ‘quality care.’”