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Surgery robot to make appearance at Westmoreland Mall

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Dr. Micheal Szwerc performs surgery using Excela Health's daVinci surgical robot.
Dr. Micheal Szwerc performs surgery using Excela Health's daVinci surgical robot.

People will have the chance next week to take the controls of a robot that is increasingly becoming a part of daily life for surgeons at Excela Health.

The daVinci robotic surgical system is used in minimally invasive surgeries — where small incisions rather than a large cut are made for surgeons to enter a patient's body. The robot gives doctors better vision and dexterity when doing surgeries on gall bladders, performing hysterectomies and other minimally invasive operations, hospital officials said.

The daVinci robot will be on display for people to see and experience March 24 at Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield as part of the shopping center's Mall Walkers program.

“We'll have people looking at a penny or picking up a ring so they can see the level of dexterity that can't be achieved naturally,” Excela spokeswoman Robin Jennings said about the daVinci demonstration.

Excela Latrobe Hospital has used the daVinci since 2009.

“Our robot at Latrobe is the second-highest volume robot in Western Pennsylvania in terms of the number of surgeries,” said Dr. Daniel Clark, a surgeon who has been with Excela for 14 years. “It was getting to the point where (surgeons) were having a hard time getting time on the robot.”

As a result, there is now a daVinci robot at both Latrobe and Excela Health Westmoreland hospitals. Clark is one of 200 certified trainers and Excela is one of 50 certified sites where surgeons training to use the robotic system can attend surgery viewings. Excela has 15 physicians who are trained and certified to use the daVinci system.

The daVinci demonstrations at the mall will be accompanied by several presentations by Excela doctors:

• Dr. Michael Szwerc will discuss low-dose CT scans to help detect lung cancer at 10 a.m.

• Dr. Clark will discuss the daVinci system's use for gallbladder surgery at 11:30 a.m.

• Dr. Tracy Gemmell will give a presentation on hysterectomies at 1 p.m.

• Dr. Norman Gebrosky will discuss advancements in reconstructive pelvic surgery to improve conditions like leaky bladders at 2:30 p.m.

• Dr. Lorenzo Bucci will discuss the system's use to shorten hospital stays related to acid reflux or hiatal hernia surgery at 4 p.m.

• Dr. Geoffrey Bisignani will discuss prostate health and robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery at 5:30 p.m.

To register for one or more of the seminars, call 877-771-1234 by March 22.

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at pvarine@tribweb.com.

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