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Boardman student views robot-assisted surgery

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Friday, January 25, 2013

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Neighbors | Submitted.Among those participating in the HMHP robot-assisted surgery event at the Eastwood mall were, from left, Emily Stevens (Warren), Joan Elliott (science teacher at Warren Harding), Sam Elliott (Warren), Sarah Rich (Warren), Andrew Comstock (Boardman), Rachel Mientkiewicz (Niles), Jesse Martin (Warren), and Amy Hays-Neifer (science teacher at Warren Harding).

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Neighbors | Submitted.Andrew Comstock, a senior at Boardman High School, examines the da Vinci surgical robot. A screen over his shoulder provides a close-up view of the surgical field. In the operating room, this screen allows assisting physicians, nurses and technicians to view the surgeon’s progress.

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Neighbors | Submitted.Among the physicians and administrators taking part in the robot-assisted surgery program are Dr. Emad Baky, Dr. Robert Woodruff, Dr. Anthony DeSalvo, Dr. Paresh Mehta and John Finizio, president of St. Joseph Health Center.

Students from a handful of Valley high schools, including Andrew Comstock of Boardman, were invited to participate in a classroom session at St. Joe’s at the Eastwood Mall Dec. 15 with physicians who use the surgical robot to perform minimally invasive procedures in place of more traditional open surgeries.

Robot-assisted surgery enables physicians to perform delicate and complex procedures through tiny incisions with greater precision, vision, dexterity and control than either open or laparoscopic procedures allow. This results in less pain and quicker recovery for patients. It also results in fewer and smaller scars, less blood loss, lower risk of infection and fewer complications. It was introduced at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren last April.

Following the classroom session, where students were able to ask physicians about everything from pathways to careers in health care and what would be required of them in medical school to the rapid advancement of technology and the role of robotics in surgery. Physicians and representatives from Intuitive Surgical invited them to move to the Eastwood Mall’s center court where the da Vinci surgical system was on display, sit at the surgeon’s console and “operate” using the robot to perform a series of exercises.

Students operating the robot viewed the “surgical field” from the surgeon’s perspective, which offers a superior 3-D view, and used the system to control surgical instruments to complete tasks such as picking up jacks and placing them in a dish, stretching rubber bands around pencil erasers and rearranging other small objects.

As students took turns at the surgeon’s console, their classmates, teachers and the physicians watched their progress on screens that offer everyone in the room a clear view of the surgical field. In the operating room, this enables assisting physicians, nurses and technicians to better anticipate the needs of the surgeon.


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