Gynecological Oncologist Dr.Luis Rojas uses the da Vinci Surgical System.
Robots are the newest frontier in surgery. In fact, real life medicine and science fiction is merging right here in Sioux Falls.
The DA Vinci Surgical System helps doctors perform more precise surgery in areas where there is limited space in the body said Gynecological Oncologist Dr.Luis Rojas of Avera McKennan.
"This system has an extra arm so when you're working with it you're basically working like a third arm," he said.
Instead of using his hands to move the instruments, Dr.Rojas sits at a console and moves levers to control the robot's "arms" and maneuver instruments placed inside the patient.
"The arms are rigid and all that moves are the instruments inside," Dr. Rojas said. "The arm rotates around it. There's not much force put into the patients abdomen and abdominal wall."
Patients like Gale Koepplin say she liked that the minimally invasive surgery allowed her to return to her productive life quicker. She's recovering from a recent hysterectomy. Dr.Rojas was the surgeon.
"The recovery period is like getting a hangnail removed," she said. "It's amazing."
The system also gives doctors a three-dimensional view of the surgery with magnification ten times that of the naked eye. But robotic assisted surgery will not make surgeons unnecessary, because the robot can't be programmed and it can't perform any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input.