In brain surgery, a mistake can mean a disability or death. So how do you teach a neurosurgeon without mistakes? In this recent newscast by the Houston ABC affiliate KTRK, Christi Myers shows how Dr. Jaime Gasco uses a 3-D brain simulator. UTMB has one of only five simulators in the United States. In the first two UTMB studies, they found that medical students who were going into neurosurgery were 30 percent to 50 percent more accurate if they trained on the computer brain simulator.
A recent article published by CNN/Fortune does a great job explaining the “rise of machines” in the nation’s operating suites. Here at UTMB , our surgeons have been performing robotic assisted surgeries since 2000 (and other minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopic surgery for much longer). During the past decade, the scope and number of surgical procedures that can be addressed using the robotic platform has increased dramatically.
UTMB features a state-of-the-art da Vinci Si Surgical System, not unlike the unit featured in the article. This new robotic surgery system has allowed us to expand the scope of our robotic surgeries and expertise even further. Enhancements such as high definition 3D video, fluorescence imaging for vascular structures, and enhanced safety features allow us to perform advanced procedures while maximizing patient safety and decreasing recovery time. However, as evidenced in the story, this great technology and everything it enables, only extends the capabilities of the surgeon and the OR Team. There is no replacement for skill and experience, and the dynamic nature of the OR requires that your health care team be nimble and prepared to offer whatever therapy or approach best fits your condition. It’s with this philosophy that we approach robotic surgery, all in order to offer our patients the best possible outcome.
Advances in surgery usually attempt to ameliorate surgery’s essential nature: cutting someone to cure him. The less severe the tissue damage, the faster the patient heals — less time in recovery, less money spent recovering from the wounds. In health care this is known as “lowering the downstream costs,” and it is what is driving hospitals to invest $2 million a pop for surgical machines.
UTMB’s mantra is “Working Together to Work Wonders.” Collaboration is part of the core fiber of our organization, and an integral element of quality health care. We believe blogging is yet another tool for collaboration, and we’re embracing it and other social technologies as a way to strengthen ties with the people and the communities who rely on us to help keep them healthy.
Our physicians and health care staff have great information and remarkable stories to tell. This blog is one channel for them to share those tips, notable news items, healthy ideas, breaking research and promising developments.
Working Wonders gives a voice and creates dialogue among our physicians and staff, and the patients and communities they serve.
We encourage you to submit questions, suggest topics you’d like for us to cover and share your opinions with us in the comments section on our blog posts. We look forward to extending our patient interactions beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics and into the digital realm.