St. John's Hospital uses da Vinci's robot-assisted surgery to fight deadly cancer

St. Paul 26 May 2004Robotics will now lend a hand and assist local surgeons at St. John's Hospital with delicate prostate cancer surgery. St. John's Hospital is the first community hospital in the Twin Cities with the da Vinci Surgical System. This state-of-the-art robot-assisted technology is being used initially and exclusively for prostate cancer surgery. The first surgeries were successfully performed this week.


This computer-enhanced surgery uses four robotic arms to simulate the physician's hand movements. It gives the surgeon greater precision and improved dexterity with enhanced 3D visualization. Compared to conventional surgery, patients who undergo surgery with this robotic technology have shorter hospital stays and fewer complications including less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery.

"The da Vinci makes it possible for us to offer cutting-edge technology to meet the growing needs of our community", stated Scott North, St. John's Hospital CEO. "This is just one way St. John's provides the best quality care for our patients."

A team of highly trained and experienced urologists, Christopher Knoedler, MD; Robert Gaertner, MD; Thomas Stormont, MD; and Peter Sershon, MD, will perform surgery using the da Vinci. These surgeons have performed hundreds of radical prostatectomies and now have a new innovative way to perform this lifesaving surgery. Dr. Knoedler, HealthEast's Medical Director for the Prostate Cancer Care Programme, stated: "The da Vinci's a revolutionary approach to prostate cancer treatment for the Twin Cities market."

Prostate cancer is on the rise and is the number one cancer diagnosed in American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 230.000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States this year. If caught early, survival rates are 90 percent or higher.

HealthEast has an expanded and comprehensive prostate cancer care programme at St. John's, which incorporates the da Vinci, with the goal of helping men fight this deadly cancer. Director of HealthEast Cancer Care, Etta Erickson, stated: "The da Vinci, along with our first-of-its-kind HealthEast Prostate Cancer Care Programme, is designed to care for men in our community and save lives."

Leslie Versweyveld

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