Tampa General Hospital has become the first hospital in Florida to successfully complete a urologic surgery using a sophisticated new robot, cutting just one small incision to allow for a more rapid and less painful recovery.

The new robot, Intuitive’s da Vinci SP surgical system, arrived at Tampa General last week and surgeons used it this morning to successfully remove a patient’s cancerous prostate. Tampa General is one of the first initial sites in the country to install an SP, or single port, da Vinci robot.

The da Vinci SP system allows a camera and three surgical instruments to fit inside a tube that passes through a single one-inch wide incision, instead of the four required by the current generation of robots. This “single port” allows surgeons to use a minimally invasive approach, even for complex procedures, that combines deep access with flexible camera visibility and precision. Surgeons will also be able to use the device to perform surgeries from new and different routes through the body.

“Our new vision is to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in the country,” said John Couris, president and CEO. “This new piece of technology is a great example of our physicians collaborating with our nurses, surgical techs, surgical assistants and administrators, building upon the most advanced surgical and robotic platform in the region. I am very proud of our team and their continued pursuit of innovation, collaboration and partnering for our patients.”

Today’s surgery was performed by Dr. Ravi Bukkapatnam, the hospital’s immediate past chief of staff, with assistance from Dr. Mohit Sirohi.

“When we’re taking care of patients who already are dealing with a difficult diagnosis, it’s critical to offer them any technology that could provide any kind of improvement or more rapid recovery,” Bukkapatnam said. “Bringing this kind of advanced technology to Florida and to our patients is what Tampa General is all about.”

In 2008, Bukkapatnam was the first surgeon to perform robotic surgery at TGH. The hospital now has four da Vinci robots and uses them routinely for a variety of complex procedures.

The FDA cleared the da Vinci SP for use in urology procedures in May 2018. Last month, the FDA cleared the device for use in certain types of head and neck procedures as well. TGH will be performing those procedures in collaboration with TGH medical staff, both doctors from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and private practice physicians, soon.

Tampa General is ranked as one of the nation’s best hospitals in urology and five other specialties by U.S. News and World Report.

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