Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:31 PM

Surgeons travel to Community Regional for daVinci robotic training

Seattle surgeon John Tschirhart flew into Fresno to observe Dr. Babak Eghbalieh remove a gall bladder via a tiny incision in the belly button using Community Regional Medical Center’s new dual console da Vinci® Si HD robotic system.

Dr. John Tschirhart observes Surgeon Babak Eghbalieh as he removes a gall bladder using Community Regional’s new dual console da Vinci® Si HD robotic system.

Because of its expertise and volume, the hospital is one of about 20 in the nation that has been designated by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the surgical robot’s manufacturer, as a training and Case Observation Site for cholescystectomy or Single-Site Surgery for gall bladder removal.

Dr. Tschirhart was the first surgeon outside of Community’s medical staff and residents of the UCSF Fresno Program to sit at the dual console to observe exactly what the surgeon does as he manipulates the robotic instruments from across the operating suite.

Dr. Eghbalieh explained that set up for the robotic surgery takes a bit longer, but that the view through the console is in sharp three-dimensional high definition (HD) providing true-to-life images of the patient’s anatomy. For collaborative surgery with the dual console, two surgeons operate in concert. While one surgeon performs the primary tasks of the operation, the second surgeon assists. The gall bladder removal was one of several surgeries Dr. Tschirhart observed as part of training on the da Vinci."“Dr. Eghbalieh’s leadership and passion for da Vinci comes through strong and clear during a case observation visit.” Tschirhart said.

Community Regional upgraded its robotic system last year and is the first hospital in the area to introduce the dual console da Vinci Si HD system with a Firefly imaging unit – the most advanced minimally invasive robotic surgical system available. Dr. Eghbalieh’s goal is to earn the title of ‘Robotic Epicenter’, where all robotic surgeries performed at Community Regional will be available for case observation training to surgeons from around the country.

“You are on the cutting edge here at Community Regional. Everything that you can have with robotic surgery you have here,” Said Megan Smith, a clinical manufacturer’s representative for the daVinci system.

Erin Kennedy and Shannon Merritt reported this story. They can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.