Trinity doctor uses new surgical procedure

STEUBENVILLE – New technology allowed Trinity Health System on Monday to add a new surgical procedure said to ease a woman’s recovery from a hysterectomy.

Shortly after performing what Trinity officials said was the region’s first single-site hysterectomy, Dr. Pat Macedonia commented on its benefits in a conference room at Trinity Medical Center West.

Macedonia, an obstetrician-gynecologist with more than 30 years’ experience, said, “I’m very excited about single-site procedures. Previously surgeons had to make long incisions on the lower abdomen during a hysterectomy, but with our minimally invasive program, we can make one small incision to perform the same procedure.”

Hysterectomies involve the removal of the uterus to treat cancer and various benign conditions, such as fibroid tumors. slippage of the uterus and some cases of endometriosis.

Macedonia said while three to four incisions usually have been required for hysterectomies in the past, he now is able to perform the surgery with one incision through the bellybutton.

The procedure leaves just one scar, deep within the patient’s bellybutton, but more importantly, it results in less blood loss and pain, allowing for faster recovery, he said.

Macedonia said the procedure is possible through the use of the da Vinci minimally invasive robotic device that has been used for other types of surgery at the hospital since March 2013.

Trinity spokesman Keith Murdock said the device has been used largely for abdominal and thoracic surgery, including the removal of gall bladders, and some neurosurgery. He said two general surgeons at Trinity and three obstetrician-gynecologists with the hospital, including Macedonia, are qualified to use the equipment.

Macedonia sat down at a control console for the robotic device in a surgical room to explain how he can manipulate the robotic device’s arms to perform the surgery.

“I have total control over the robot. Every movement the robot makes is because I have made it,” he said.

Macedonia said the robot is equipped with special wristed instruments able to bend and rotate at a greater radius than a human wrist.

He added during the surgery he views three-dimensional, high definition images produced by the robot’s video camera, offering magnification 10 times greater than those produced by older equipment.

The images are displayed both at the surgeon’s control panel and on two video monitors viewed by assisting staff, Macedonia noted.

“To me it’s just amazing how far we’ve come,” he said.

Macedonia said he underwent hours of education and many more hours of hands-on training to prepare him for operating the robot, which is produced by Intuitive Surgical Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

He said a patient’s weight, the size of her uterus and other factors determine whether she is a good candidate for the robot-assisted surgery.