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Published:April 17th, 2009 16:10 EST
MD Performs First Robot-Assisted Surgery In Air Force

MD Performs First Robot-Assisted Surgery In Air Force

By SOP newswire3

by Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2009 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kyle Weld performed the first robot-assisted surgery in the Air Force April 10 at Wilford Hall Medical Center here. 

The surgery was a laparoscopic prostatectomy, or the surgical removal of prostate cancer.

"The procedure went great," said Dr. Weld, director of endourology at Wilford Hall. "The patient went home on schedule with minimal blood loss and pain."

The surgical robot provides a magnified, high-definition, three-dimensional view for the physician. It converts the surgeon`s hand movements into very precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient. This state-of-the-art surgical system provides the least invasive and most precise procedures for Wilford Hall Medical Center`s patients.

"Our residents will also benefit from their exposure to this advanced surgical technique," Colonel Weld said.

Colonel Weld and Lt. Col. (Dr.) Sam Hakim, commander of the hospital`s Urology Flight, trained on the robot at a civilian hospital and have years of laparoscopic surgery experience.

Other uses for the robot in urology include partial nephrectomies, or kidney removals, and pyeloplasties, a specific type of kidney reconstruction procedure. It can also be used in other fields of surgery including gynecology, cardiovascular, general surgery and otolaryngology.

More robot-assisted surgeries are already scheduled at Wilford Hall.

Wilford Hall Medical Center received the first robot in March this year, at a cost of more than $1 million. Funding has been requested for a second robot, intended to go to the 59th Clinical Research Division for training purposes.

"There is not another robot available in San Antonio in an animal laboratory for training purposes," Dr. Weld said. "This equipment will provide invaluable training experience for our medical residents and staff."