The future is now: robot-assistant surgery has begun at Bayonne Medical Center (BMC).
According to Chief Hospital Executive Dr. Vijay Singh, robotics has progressed a long way over the past 12 years. BMC is establishing a robotics institute because advances in technology have made robot-assistant surgery safer, less time consuming, more effective, and with fewer complications than traditional surgery.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alfredo Rabines told the Bayonne Community News that robotic surgery is safer than traditional surgery because the technology is more precise. There is less room for human error.
Singh said that robotic surgery takes less time than traditional surgery because of its precision, allowing surgeons to perform operations faster. Patient turnaround time is quicker following robotic surgery, meaning shorter hospital stays.
The precision technology means there are fewer and less frequent intra-operative complications, Singh said.
According to Singh, BMC is looking to establish a robotics institute with an orthopedic spine program. Orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, and neuro-spine surgery are among the procedures that will be performed at the hospital with robotics.
How it works
While the phrase robotic surgery may imply that a robot is performing an operation, surgeons control the robot.
Singh said that surgeons in the community and at CarePoint Health have been pushing for a robotics institute for a number of years. Many of them are certified.
BMC has received the first of three robots, a Mako system for orthopedic surgery.
Three hospital wards will be dedicated for the robotics institute, with one for each robot. The robotics wards are high-tech rooms set up to accommodate the robotics, cleaning, and intra operative monitoring.
Specialized nurses and technicians manage the robotics. The first surgeries using the robots began in early December.
BMC is starting a robotics fellowship in late June. Singh said that the hospital wants to expand existing academic programs to support the robotic institute.
Surgeries continue amid COVID-19
Amid the first surge of COVID-19 last spring, BMC faced a wave of cancelled surgeries. During the second surge, Singh said the hospital has not seen the same number of cancellations .
He said he was relieved, because the hospital wants the patients to get their elective surgeries done and not sit on any medical condition. Waiting could make the condition worse.
Singh said there was a higher number of surgeries in October and November compared to the spring and summer but that number declined in December because patients typically don’t want to schedule their surgeries during the winter holidays.
The hospital will continue to perform surgeries and expand the institute as the COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues.
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