Robot-assisted surgeries take off at Thompson

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – A growing number of surgeries at UR Thompson Health in Canandaigua are made possible because of a special robot.

Hospital leaders say they’re leading the region in robotic-assisted surgeries thanks to the da Vinci, which it acquired nearly 10 year ago. Surgeons at the hospital say they’re gaining national recognition, drawing patients from all over the country as this technology improves and skyrockets in popularity.

Using the da Vinci, the surgeon can program the robot and control its motions, allowing for more precision and complex movement, so the surgery is not as extensive. That means patients require less anesthesia for things like hernia repair or gallbladder surgery. They generally have shorter hospital stays, too.

Data reflects lower complication rates, lower use of opioids, and lower chronic pain rates.

“Previously you might have to go to a high-level institution. You can now come to a smaller institution, like ours in Canandaigua, and get the same care or better care than you would at a bigger hospital,” Dr. Joseph Talarico said.

“Patients are very interested,” said Dr. David Peter. “They love seeing the robot as they come in the room. They love seeing how we do every little thing with it, and then at the other end, they’re seeing the outcomes.”

Both say they can conduct an average of five da Vinci surgeries a day compared to just two or three before the robot.

In 2020, Thompson upgraded to the da Vinci Xi, which is a newer model. Surgeries jumped 20 percent in 2022 from the year before.

They’re in the top 1 percent nationally for hospitals of their size to use it. The manufacturer says the robot is one of the highest-utilized in the country.

The Surgical Review Corporation deemed Thompson a Center of Excellence for both hernia surgery and robotic surgery.