Robotic Surgery Demonstration

Dr. David W. Ford explains the benefits of minimally invasive, robotically-assisted surgery.

In this episode of “Making Rounds.” Trident Health spotlights its premier general surgeon and expert robotically-assisted surgeon, Dr. David Ford, of Tri-County Surgical Associates, about Trident’s state-of-the-art Surgical Suite that features the da Vinci Xi, the latest and greatest in minimally-invasive robotically-assisted laparoscopic surgical systems on the market today. Dr. Ford joined Trident in 2012 and has operated over 500 operations in the last five years, using the robotically-assisted method. Trident joins Dr. Ford in OR17, who gives us an in-depth tour and demonstration of the da Vinci Xi Robot, Trident’s surgical robot, a view of the surgical suite, an explanation about the members of his expert team participating in the surgeries, and an interview about the background information about his surgical specialties, the history of robotically-assisted surgeries and more information for patients, who are interested in their treatments.

Dr. Ford begins by showing us The Surgeon’s Console, which contains instrument controls that are operated remotely by the surgeon using a 3D stereoscopic viewing station, giving imaging, clearer than the naked eye, of the inside of a patient. Dr. Ford demonstrates the ease with which his hands and feet can make the most minute gestures that are translated by the robot to the patient’s surgery. While his hands and wrists control the instruments, his feet can control the laparoscopic camera inside the patient.

The Patient Cart is featured next, which is situated over the operating table and the prone patient and makes contact with the patient using the robotic instruments that were controlled at the Surgeon’s Console. He explains that surgery is often begun with 3-4 small 8mm incisions, equating to 1/8 or ¼ inch in size, that is used for the insertion of laparoscopic camera and instruments, which he controls.

Dr. Ford explains why his preference is always for using the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, for four reasons:

  • First, with better vision, the surgical system even supersedes traditional laparoscopic surgery, because, with the immense clarity, magnification, and 3D visualization, he can see amazingly small and intricate details otherwise overlooked. This means that the ports or incisions into the patient can be small, 8mm or 1/8-1/4 inch, versus 6-12 inches in traditional laparoscopic surgery. This also means less pain, less narcotic pain medication, fewer complications for the patient, and they can usually go home the same day of surgery, as well as faster recovery.
  • Secondly, he explains that dexterity is also enhanced. In traditional laparoscopic surgery, he explains that controlling instruments feels like operating with chopsticks because you don’t have any movement of the wrist that can be translated to instrument control. The da Vinci Xi takes surgery precision to a whole new level with 540 degrees of range of motion from a surgeon’s wrists. Dr. Ford demonstrates all the techniques that each instrument can gesticulate, including suturing.
  • Thirdly, the da Vinci Xi also can offer the surgeon a third “hand” that can be operated independently, and along with the other two instruments, using his left hand alone, giving him more options and control.
  • And finally, the surgeon’s fatigue is minimized, so that during long surgeries, the Surgeon is comfortably seated behind the Console and fatigue never affects his surgical accuracy for the patient.

In explaining how he uses the da Vinci Xi Robot, Dr. Ford, as a General Surgeon, operates on many Hernias, that although can be common and have many causes, always require surgical intervention. He specializes in Gallbladder surgeries, Inguinal Hernias, Incisional Hernias, Umbilical Hernias, Hiatal Hernias, Paraesophageal Hernias, Adrenal Surgeries, Colon Surgeries, while in his practice, some of his colleague Thoracic Surgeons specialize in Lung Surgery. The da Vinci Xi is also used by Robotic Cardiothoracic that addresses the Heart, Robotic Urology catering to Prostate and Kidney Surgery, and Robotic Gynecological that address ovary and uterus surgeries. Many other specialties also use the da Vinci Robotically-assisted Surgical System.

Dr. Ford explains to patients that advanced robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System is still always handled as a team. In the surgical suite, during an operation, one will find the Anesthetist by the Anesthesia Cart, a Physician’s Assistant, who will exchange the instruments when called upon by the Surgeon, and 2-3 specialized surgical nurses and technicians on hand in the surgical suite beside the patient’s operating table. There is also an RN on standby in the room, who ensures patient safety and that can also run for additional supplies or instruments outside the room, without compromising the sterile team besides the patient.

He operates every Tuesday, often able to schedule 3-4 surgeries in a day. As more and more surgeries are becoming converted to this advanced method, patients are encouraged to ask their primary care provider if they are a candidate for robotic surgery and a referral. Dr. Ford encourages contacting him via phone or email, or patients can find more details of the surgical procedures he performs within this website.

You can also visit the Tri-County Surgical Associates website by clicking here.

Learn More about Dr. David W. Ford