San Ramon infertility expert to apply new da Vinci Surgical System in sterilization reversal procedure

San Ramon 14 August 2000An infertility specialist at San Ramon Regional Medical Center became the first surgeon in the United States to successfully perform a fully endoscopic fallopian tube reconnection surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, which is promoted as the latest minimally invasive technology.

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Donald I. Galen, M.D., used the new da Vinci Surgical System to perform microsurgical tubal reanastomosis to reverse sterilization on Mrs. Charlene Olden, a 35-year old patient, who underwent tubal ligation eight years ago. Traditionally, this procedure is performed through an open abdominal incision.

By contrast, using the da Vinci Surgical System, Dr. Galen was able to perform the procedure endoscopically through small, pencil size incisions. The benefits to the patient having this new minimally invasive procedure, include less scarring and a shorter recovery than with traditional open surgery. Additionally, the da Vinci Surgical System is designed to assist surgeons in achieving a higher level of accuracy and dexterity.

During the procedure, the surgeon used a console near the operating table for a three-dimensional view of the surgical field. Endowrist Instruments and a viewing camera were inserted into the patient's abdomen through small incisions. As the surgeon performed the surgery from the console, the instruments replicated the natural movements at the operative site through the small incisions. These instruments are designed to provide surgeons the feel as if their wrists, hands and fingers are actually at the surgical site with full dexterity.

Donald I. Galen, M.D. is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who specialises in infertility and gynaecological microsurgery. Dr. Galen, whose office is in San Ramon, is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at the University of California, Davis, and teaches endoscopic surgical techniques.

The da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical Inc. is a computer-enhanced surgical system designed to make minimally invasive techniques easier, simplify difficult surgeries, and create new procedures.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center is part of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which through its subsidiaries, owns and operates 110 acute care hospitals with 26.939 beds and numerous related health care services. The company employs approximately 106.000 people serving communities in 17 states and services its hospitals from a Dallas-based operations centre.

Currently about eleven million American women, aged 15 to 44, rely on tubal sterilization for contraception. Six percent of these women undergoing tubal sterilization will eventually seek information about reversal. Apart from the da Vinci surgical system, also the ZEUS robotic surgical system, designed by Computer Motion Inc., is already used frequently in similar fully endoscopic fallopian tube reconnection procedures. You can read everything about it in the VMW November 1999 article ZEUS robot system reverses sterilization to enable birth of baby boy.


Leslie Versweyveld

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