Robotic surgery comes to Fletcher Allen

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(Host) Robotic surgery will soon be coming to Fletcher Allen Health Care.

The state has approved the hospital’s request to spend $1.6 million on a robotic surgery system.

Dr. Samuel Trotter says the new system will be used for urological and gynecological surgery. He says the advantage is precision:

(Trotter) It allows for extraordinarily precise vision and extraordinary visibility. Beyond the precision of the surgery is because of the minimally invasive small incisions. The advantage is a shorter hospitalization, quicker recovery and often less blood loss, and less pain and narcotics.

(Host) During the surgery doctors will sit at a console and control robotic arms that perform the procedure.

Trotter says robotic surgery is not for everybody. But it’s less invasive, so there’s less risk of infection. Trotter says it helps some patients return to work sooner.

And he says, at least in his field of surgery for prostate cancer, robotic surgery will help the hospital stay competitive:

(Trotter) Right now, we’re losing probably a significant number of patients to other institutions as they go elsewhere to have robotic surgery or computer assisted surgery.

(Host) Fletcher Allen hopes to have the robotic surgery up and going within the next few weeks. Trotter says that he expects nearly 80 percent of his patients in the next year will choose robotic surgery for prostate cancer.

He says it’s the first robotic surgery unit in Vermont, but the units have been in use in other states for several years. The hospital received $800,000 in donations towards the total cost.


AP Photo/Mike Derer: A New Jersey surgeon uses a robotic surgery unit similar to the one FAHC will install.


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