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Published:  June 20, 2008

Leading the Way in Robotics Surgery

St. Luke's The Woodlands Hospital is first in area to perform a nephrectomy with the da Vinci® robotics surgical system

The Woodlands, TX – St. Luke's The Woodlands Hospital has become the first hospital in the South Montgomery/North Harris County area to perform a partial nephrectomy (partial kidney removal) using the robotics-assisted da Vinci® Surgical System, developed by Intuitive Surgical.

The surgery was performed urologist Steven W. Sukin, MD, who noted, “This is an exciting time as we utilize the capabilities of the state-of-the-art da Vinci system, which has successfully taken off here at St. Luke’s. Because the da Vinci allows minimally-invasive access, we are able to go in and remove just the targeted portion of the kidney in an extremely precise manner. In the case of a tumor, this allows the surgeon to salvage the remaining organ.  This amazing system is good all around for the patient's outcome, as traditional nephrectomies are challenging and involve large, flank incisions and long recovery times.”

Sherrill Lanthier, RN, Director of the Robotics Program at St. Luke's The Woodlands Hospital, added, “With the da Vinci system, a patient undergoing a nephrectomy is able to experience a shorter recovery time. They typically can leave the hospital within 24 to 48 hours and get back to their regular life in about ten days.  Patients are able to avoid the traditional surgery hospital stay of seven to 14 days with a six-week to two-month recovery.  Through the robotics-assisted da Vinci® Surgical System, we are able to provide quality healthcare with quicker recovery time and less post-surgical complications.”

Using the da Vinci® Surgical System, the surgeon operates while seated comfortably at a console viewing a 3-D image of the surgical field. The surgeon's fingers grasp the master controls below the display with hands and wrists naturally positioned relative to his or her eyes. The system seamlessly translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.

Many surgical procedures performed today using standard laparoscopic techniques may be performed more quickly and easily using the da Vinci® Surgical System. This is because the da Vinci® Surgical System delivers increased clinical capability while maintaining the same look and feel of open surgery.

The patients' benefits from this enhanced platform for minimally-invasive surgery may include a shorter hospital stay, less pain, faster recovery, less risk of infection, less blood loss, fewer transfusions, less scarring, and a quicker return to normal daily activities.

St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital is located at 17200 St. Luke’s Way in The Woodlands, at the southwest corner of SH 242 and I-45.  For more information, please call (936) 266-2000 or visit

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