Brian Stisser, MD, is a urologist with Blue Ridge Urological, PC, in Fishersville. He has many years experience in robotic surgery, and on October 25, 2016, he performed the first robotic surgery at Augusta Health.
The earlier 21st century marked a new time for surgical innovation as more complex cases migrated from open to minimally invasive surgery. Fortunately, that coincided with my training at Georgetown University Hospital and the National Cancer Institute, where I was able to learn traditional as well as modern techniques. Robotic surgery has enabled a surgeon to apply greater precision during operations while still employing the primary advantages of laparoscopic surgery – shorter hospital stays and less pain through smaller incisions. We have improved visualization through video scopes and advanced instruments to help with reconstruction of normal tissues and yet continue to maintain excellent management of both malignant and benign disease.
This becomes especially poignant when you hear it from the patients themselves. They are so surprised and happy when they are able to return to their regular lives – whether it be to family, work or leisure – in a timetable that is much shorter than they saw with relatives or friends who were treated in more traditional ways. Not only is their personal time returned to them, but often they will recover their normal functions more rapidly and completely without the unfortunate consequence of unsightly scars.
Like most tools, it is imperative that the surgical robot is used by the right person in the right setting. Fortunately, most patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery in the hands of an experienced surgeon. This can apply to all ages and body shapes and certainly both males and females.
Patients in our community are fortunate that they now have this treatment advantage in the comfort of their local hospital where they can be cared for by their friends and neighbors. We are happy that we can offer this through many surgical services including Urology, Gynecology, Gyncecologic Oncology, Colorectal Surgery and General Surgery, and we look forward to expanding services in the future!