For many years, robotic surgical equipment, powered by artificial intelligence programmed with millions of data points and complex algorithms, has been making its way into healthcare. Essentia is proud to have many platforms that fit this mold and make patient care safer and more efficient. They also lead to shorter hospital stays, less recovery time and – most importantly – better overall patient outcomes.
From joint replacements to gallbladder surgery and appendectomies, if you perform surgery in Essentia, there is a good chance that AI will be used. While it might make some people shudder at the thought of a robot performing surgery on them, it’s important to note that in almost all cases these are surgeons’ assistants who program and direct them based on the patient’s individual needs and anatomy. They may be operated by artificial intelligence, but surgeons are responsible for almost all of their movements. Because of things like preplanning and 3D imaging, surgeons are equipped with a more detailed plan.
What does this mean for the patient? This means more accuracy, less invasive procedures, and less potential for error.
Most robotic surgery systems feature a camera and mechanical arms with attached surgical instruments. The surgeon is able to control both arms from the console, giving them a high-resolution, magnified 3D view of the operation as it unfolds. This enhances flexibility and accuracy when compared to traditional techniques.
Essentia has a wide variety of bots for many needs. Here is a brief summary of some of the tools we use to improve patient care.
The Da Vinci Xi Surgical System
Built on 20 years of experience, the Xi is Da Vinci’s fourth generation machine. Equipped with four movable arms, it acts as an extension of the surgeon’s eyes and hands, allowing unobstructed access to the patient. Using the laser system, the robot is able to precisely configure itself, ensuring optimal surgery positions based on patients’ needs. The surgeon then operates the machine with precision mechanics through an overhead console that allows close access to every step of the procedure.
Machines like the Xi can assist with hernia repairs, colectomies, gynecological procedures, and many other general surgeries. This is available at Essentia Hospitals in Duluth, Virginia, Fargo, and Brainerd.
The new ROSA (Robotic Surgical Assistant) knee system from Zimmer Biomet
This procedure is similar to a traditional total knee replacement, but with a robotic assistant. The ROSA Knee System uses data collected before and during surgery to inform the surgeon(s) of details regarding the patient’s unique anatomy that may influence implant fit. With real-time data, the surgeon can plan and perform a customized surgery.
“This customized approach to knee replacement provides a customized plan of care to ensure the best possible outcome based on each patient’s unique anatomy,” said Dr. Christopher Metz, Essentia Orthopedic Surgeon. “This new technology is much more precise and makes already successful surgery much better.”
Before surgery, patients will undergo a series of x-rays, which are used to create a 3D model of their knee. During surgery, the system uses a camera and trackers to provide the surgeon with data about the patient’s knee. All of this information about the patient’s anatomy, combined with the surgeon’s experience, helps to know precisely how to place the implant.
The ROSA Knee System does not perform movements unless requested by the surgeon. The surgeon is specially trained to use the system and remains in control making all decisions based on the data provided.
The MAKO robotic arm combines digital planning, computer technology, and surgical techniques for a more precise and minimally invasive hip and knee replacement. A virtual patient-specific 3D model/plan is created using the CT images from the patient. The surgeon confirms the plan and makes any necessary adjustments while guiding the robotic arm. It helps create one of the most predictable experiences for these types of surgeries.
Monarch™ platform from Auris Health
This is an innovative technology for diagnosing lung cancer. Allows early diagnosis and facilitates biopsy of small, hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung. The technology integrates the latest advances in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy – or the use of tiny cameras and instruments to enter the body through its natural openings. There are a variety of diagnostic options currently available for lung cancer, but all have limitations in accuracy, safety, or invasiveness. These deficiencies can lead to false positives, false negatives, or annoying side effects.
The Monarch platform features a console-like interface that clinicians use to navigate the flexible, robotic endoscope to the periphery of the lung while improving access, vision, and control. By combining traditional endoscopic views of the lung with computer-assisted navigation based on 3D models of a patient’s lung anatomy, the Monarch platform provides clinicians with a continuous view of the airways throughout the entire procedure.
Why is this important for patients? Those with small peripheral nodules can be diagnosed earlier, allowing for more successful treatment of lung cancer, which has historically been caught at a late stage with few options available.
“This platform is a game-changer compared to legacy technology,” said Dr. Eric Swanson, MD, a pulmonologist at Essentia. “Since we began using this technology over a year ago, we have biopsied many lesions that we would not have attempted before due to the platform’s ability to reach a greater range and precisely adjust the scope toward the lesions, facilitating definitive diagnoses and putting patients all in one procedure.” .”
In 2022, Essentia becomes the first hospital in Northland to use a computer-assisted polyp detection system.
This new technology greatly enhances the ability to detect precancerous colorectal polyps, or adenomas, through improved vision during colonoscopy.
GI Genius uses artificial intelligence to help detect precancerous lesions in real time. It incorporates advanced algorithms that can identify and characterize abnormalities consistent with polyps, including flat polyps, that may not be detected by the human eye. Studies have shown that every 1% increase in the rate of adenoma detection reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 3%. GI Genius has been shown to increase the detection rate of adenoma by over 14% compared to colonoscopy alone.
“This new technology helps increase the quality of our colonoscopies, which in turn improves prognosis and outcomes for patients with colon cancer,” said Dr. Irene Thackeray, a gastroenterologist at Essentia Health.
The system is trained with a dataset of 13 million polyp images of various shapes and sizes. It is 82% faster than an endoscopist at detecting polyps, with an overall sensitivity rate of 99.7%, which means there is less than half a percent chance of a false positive.
Mazor X spine surgery system
With the Mazor X, neurosurgeons can minimize spine surgery recovery while maximizing outcomes.
“Robotic surgery makes a difference in providing direct patient care,” said Dr. Dino Terzik, Essentia Neurosurgeon. “Adopting these technologies now will make it easier to keep up with the trend in the future, when more significant breakthroughs in our lives are likely.”
The Mazor X consists of three pieces that work together to help surgeons perform accurate and effective spine surgery:
- 3D surgery planning: Advanced computer tools use 3D images to help doctors create a detailed surgical plan, resulting in increased accuracy.
- Instructions during surgery: Robotic technology guides surgical instruments and implants according to plan.
- Verification tools: During the surgical procedure, innovative tracking and imaging technology adds an extra measure of safety to ensure all movements and placements are followed to the surgical plan.
This technique is used to treat degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, herniated discs, stenosis, vertebral fractures and more.
These are just a few of the latest pieces of technology that Essentia is implementing in a variety of our locations. To find out if one of these options is right for you, talk to your primary care physician.
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