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Robotic Surgery Institute

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Dr. Starnes has focused his clinical and research efforts on minimally invasive heart surgery, specifically "off-pump" coronary artery bypass grafting and mitral valve repair. He is very involved in the robotic surgery research efforts.

Coronary Anastamosis

Indeed, traditional mitral valve surgery involves a long incision, and surgeons must split the breast bone to reach the heart. Even using advanced techniques, the incision can be four inches long. But through the small punctures and tiny instruments involved in minimally invasive robotic surgery, patients experience shorter incisions.

Dr. Starnes explains that the robot can accomplish what the human surgeon cannot because of its ability to mimic the human hand within a small, contained space. The EndoWristTM Instruments transform the surgeons’ wrists, hand and fingers into tiny instruments.

During the procedure, while the console surgeon operates the sophisticated robot from a distance, the bedside surgeon is responsible for placement of the correct surgical ports and directing the robot into the patient. And like other heart surgery, nurses and anesthesiologists play key roles during the procedure.

In the future, the USC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery hopes to apply this technology to other types of heart surgery, including off-pump coronary artery surgery as well as treating intracardiac lesions, including atrial septal defects and ventricle septal defects.

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