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NUMC Robotics Program Provides Minimally Invasive Surgery & Faster Recovery for Patients

Nassau Health Care Corporation

NUMC Robotics Program Provides Minimally Invasive Surgery & Faster Recovery for Patients

East Meadow, N.Y., August 16, 2021 – Nassau Health Care Corporation launched its Robotics Program in October 2020. With 4 credentialed physicians and a dedicated nursing team trained specifically in robotics, Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) provides minimally invasive general surgery and gynecologic surgery to eligible patients, regardless of insurance status.

Nassau Health Care Corporation is proud to announce the successful debut of Nassau University Medical Center’s Robotics Program. Since October 2020, Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) has housed a state-of-the-art surgical robot with which credentialed surgeons perform Minimally Invasive Surgeries (MIS), including gall bladder removal, hernia repair, bariatrics, hysterectomy, pelvic mass removal, appendectomy, and bowel resection. The addition of the robot to the surgical team at the region’s only public, Level 1 Trauma Care Center has further elevated the hospital’s ability to provide the highest quality surgical care, regardless of patients’ insurance status or ability to pay.

During the end of the first wave of COVID-19 in June of 2020, Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC)—Long Island’s only stand-alone safety net hospital—physicians, nurses, first responders and staff worked overtime to care for vulnerable patients. Dr. Paul C. Liu, NUMC’s Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), recognized an immediate need for technology that would reduce complications and resource usage, as well as improve the patient experience by minimizing recovery time. He successfully advocated for the purchase of a da Vinci Xi assistive surgical robot which was fast-tracked within 3 months by NUMC CEO Dr. Anthony Boutin. By mid-October, Dr. Liu had performed the first robotically assisted, minimally invasive surgery at NUMC. The patient was successfully discharged to recover at home only four hours after surgery.

Dr. Venkatesh Sasthakonar, Director of Bariatric Surgery, was next to be credentialed and has performed over 100 robotic cases in the last 6 months. He says, “NUMC is a Comprehensive Bariatric Center offering complex bariatric surgeries to help patients lose weight and achieve better health. The addition of a robotics platform has given us the ability to perform complex revisional surgeries safely and confidently. This helps even those patients that have had prior bariatric procedures with less than optimum outcomes.”

NUMC currently staffs four exemplary, credentialed surgeons. Dr. Paul C. Liu is Chair of NUMC’s Robotics Committee, along with Dr. John Riggs, Deputy CMO and Dr. Lambros Angus, Chairman of Surgery who also supervise the program. They also have a dedicated nursing team under the leadership of Jacqueline Espejo, Director of Operating Room Nursing, who directed the certification and training of robotic ancillary staff with the Intuitive team. Dr. Liu and Dr. Riggs have set rigorous credentialing requirements that include online learning modules, wet lab training, and proctoring for physicians working with the da Vinci Xi robot. So far, the program has exceeded its predicted outcomes by 30% and has initiated steps to apply as a Center of Excellence for robotically assisted surgical procedures.

During a minimally invasive robotic surgical case, the surgeon makes a small incision (8-11 millimeters) and deploys a laparoscopic camera that transmits 3D images from inside the body. NUMC’s resident robot, the da Vinci XI, is the fourth and latest generation in the da Vinci surgical robotics series from the company Intuitive. The da Vinci XI model offers high definition, near infrared visuals and 10x magnification that enhances a surgeons’ ability to identify and address potential complications during the procedure, no matter how small. Surgeons also have complete control over the robotic arms, which can be manipulated in a 360° rotation to precisely repair or remove tissue. Further, procedures that previously could not be performed laparoscopically, are now easily performed using the cutting-edge assistive robot.

According to Dr. Liu, “Minimally invasive surgery is the way of the future. The surgical robot is an advancement in technology that helps already credentialed surgeons perform procedures with precision in the operating room. The launch of the Robotics Program is a major step towards our mission of providing the highest quality healthcare for our patients.” NUMC patients eligible for minimally invasive procedures experience less complications during recovery, better surgical outcomes, reduced need for pain medications, and faster discharges. The discharge time following a minimally invasive surgery ranges from 4 to 24 hours after an operation, depending on the type of case. These are just a few of the significant patient benefits of robotically assisted surgery.

Nassau Health Care Corporation is committed to its mission to provide Long Island residents with outstanding and compassionate state of the art medical care and surgical care. Any questions about the Robotics Program at NUMC for General Surgery can be directed to 516-572-5869, and any questions regarding Gynecological Surgery can be directed to 516-296-2138.


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