In September, Saint Luke’s East debuted its newest, most-advanced surgical robot. The da Vinci Xi®, nicknamed Lexi, is a more advanced version of the technology already available at the hospital. While the older versions will still provide quality operations, the new upgrade will give surgeons at Saint Luke’s East the capability to conduct more varieties of minimally- invasive procedures.
Surgical Services, Nurse Manager, Whitney Huddleston said Lexi will allow Saint Luke’s East surgeons to conduct a variety of colorectal, bariatric and gynecological procedures that they would not have been able to perform with older versions of the robotic technology. It also allows patients to go back to their day-to-day routines with less recovery time than traditional procedures.
“We have been very much anticipating her arrival, so we are very excited to have this technology here,” said Huddleston.
Lexi comes with four arms, an important distinction from the older models. The higher number of arms gives the surgeon access to more areas of the patient’s abdomen. The arms are more flexible and have an increased range of motion compared to previous versions.
The screen that surgeons use to see the patient offers up to 10 times magnification, allowing for more precision than the surgeon could achieve with just the naked eye.
“It’s kind of like going from a standard TV to a high definition TV, so you’re really able to see better,” said Rachenda Rockwell, a Clinical Sales Representative from the surgical equipment company, Intuitive.
The arms are also longer to accommodate for higher body mass indexes and Lexi has an arsenal of updated tools to attach to the arms. The bed that accompanies Lexi will be able to move with the robot for greater efficiency.
To perform a surgery using Lexi, the surgeon first makes small incisions and positions the arms of the robot appropriately. The surgeon then uses highly-agile controls that follow natural wrist movement. The surgeon simply moves the control as they would move their hands and the arms on the robot follow their motions.
Lexi’s arrival comes in the wake of two other additions to Saint Luke’s East in the same month. The hospital unveiled two new operating suites. The new operating rooms were constructed as part of a $10 million expansion in 2018, but only recently were completed for use.
Saint Luke’s East is planning more investments in 2019 including new radiology equipment, gastroenterology instruments, dialysis bays and emergency room renovations. LSEDC President & CEO Rick McDowell said he is impressed by Lexi and all of the new additions coming to Saint Luke’s East.
“The investment in innovation by Saint Luke’s East proves how committed the Saint Luke’s Health System is to our community and to keeping patients well,” said McDowell.
In addition to helping patients have a better experience and recovery time, Huddleston said Lexi and the other improvements at the hospital will help attract top surgeons and medical staff to Saint Luke’s East.
“This XI platform does things that our current [previous] platform cannot do… having that ability just draws surgeons here, also draws staff here,” said Huddleston. “Knowing that we have the latest and greatest technology is always a great attraction tool and retention tool.”
Many of the Saint Luke’s East surgeons have already used the da Vinci Xi® machine at other hospitals within the Saint Luke’s Health System, so there is not expected to be a delay for training before the machine is used for surgeries.