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Area's only dual-robot program expands to heart-lung procedures



The next generation of even more sophisticated da Vinci robotic surgery is available now at Baptist Health Paducah, extending its minimally-invasive options to heart and lung procedures.

More than 600 people have benefited from shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery close to home, since Baptist Health Paducah brought the first da Vinci to western Kentucky in 2009. Procedures have included hysterectomy; treatment of throat cancer; removal of the prostate and partial removal of the kidney.

A second robot has just been added, and cardiothoracic surgeon K. Ken Ung, M.D., recently trained to perform lung and heart surgery with the robot. He will be assisted by cardiothoracic surgeon Carl Johnson, M.D.

He is beginning with lung surgery to remove early stage cancers. Da Vinci lung surgery requires a significantly smaller incision than other minimally invasive techniques and creates less discomfort and scarring for the patient, Dr. Ung said.

“The safety and efficacy of robotics technology has been well-documented,” Dr. Ung said. “Experts in our field say it is a day and night difference in terms of the surgeon being able to visualize during surgery; and it’s an exciting tool for my cardiothoracic patients, especially when we transition to robotic heart surgery, doing robotic valves or robotic bypasses.”

The da Vinci seamlessly translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient in an area smaller than would be required for the surgeon’s hands.

The new system features more sophisticated controls and a multi-functional touch screen to provide additional clinical benefits and operation efficiencies.  Its fluorescence imaging allows surgeons to capture images of tissue and surrounding blood vessels by injecting a unique fluorescence dye activated by near-infrared light, which marks the difference between normal tissue and cancerous tissue.

For additional information, see westernbaptist.com/davinci.