What is a General Surgeon?
Did you know general surgery is a distinct surgical specialty? Many people get confused by the word ‘general’ and do not realize that general surgery is called that name because it encompasses a broad range of different types of operations instead of always focusing on one type of organ. For example, it is well understood that Ophthalmologists operate on the eye. General surgeons do not operate on the eye. Then, what operations do they perform? You can think of general surgeons as abdominal surgeons, but even that doesn’t really describe it well.
General surgeons are surgeons that operate on: the alimentary tract (esophagus, stomach, bowel, and related organs such as the appendix, liver, spleen, and gallbladder), the abdominal wall (hernias), breast, skin and soft tissue, and the endocrine system. It is appropriate to think of a general surgeon as a specialist both in commonly performed procedures such as gallbladder and hernia surgery as well as rare procedures such as esophageal myotomy where the outer muscle of the esophagus is carefully opened to reduce high pressure inside the esophagus.
Now, Let’s Talk Robotic Surgery.
Often people are misled by the term “robotic”, however, with the da Vinci system, the surgeon is always in full control. The machine is called a robot, but it doesn’t make moves on it’s own. Rather, it enhances the skill of the operator. The system translates your surgeon’s hand movements at the console in real-time, articulating and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure. Even if the surgeon were to exhibit a slight tremor during a procedure, the machine can take the tremor out at the level of the instrument! The tiny wristed instruments allow for a greater range of motion and 360 degree rotation of the instrument. It can perform superhuman motions! All the while, the surgeon watches with a highly magnified 3D, high-definition camera.
Robotic surgery refers to anytime a robotic machine is used to perform complex procedures. The robot is used for minimally invasive surgeries, requiring small incisions. The robot excels at working in tiny, cramped spaces and performing intricate maneuvers while in those spaces. With the robot, surgeons are pushing the envelope of what can be done with minimally invasive surgery.
There are a lot of benefits to robotic surgery:
Benefits of Robotic Surgery:
Controlled by the surgeon himself, the camera can change angels, magnify, and offer an immersed view.
The surgical instrument can be rotated more than 360 degrees, giving enhanced motion and dexterity.
Complete Autonomy with 4 arms
The surgical system has three arms for surgical tools and a fourth for its camera. The surgeon gets an EXTRA arm and hand for the procedure! This allows the surgeon way more opportunity within a range of procedures.
Robotic surgeons have the luxury of sitting down while performing surgery, yielding less fatigue.
Decreased patient length of hospital stay, returns to the ER, and re-admissions are examples of proven cost savings from robotic surgery.
The da Vinci Doctor
Meet Dr. Steven Williams, Boise’s best general surgeon and expert in minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Dr. Williams was introduced very early to da Vinci robotic technology while he was finishing residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2000. He has now utilized all four of the ever more advanced robotic models as they have come to market. He has performed hundreds of successful and complex robotic surgeries, perfecting this area of expertise. Dr. Williams uses the da Vinci robot to perform all of his splenectomies, laparoscopic inguinal hernias, advanced esophageal surgeries, and small bowel and colon surgeries unless there are patient factors that dictate otherwise.
Robotic surgery in Boise has exploded over the last decade. With both St Luke’s and St Alphonsus health systems adding the newest and latest da Vinci robotic systems, it has allowed Treasure Valley surgeons to expand the types of minimally invasive robotic procedures that they can offer patients and has dramatically increased the number of robot surgeries in our area.
To Dr. Williams and an ever-increasing number of surgeons globally, da Vinci technology is changing the experience of surgery for people around the world. The system features a magnified vision system and tiny instruments, allowing your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, and control.
The da Vinci technology can be useful in a variety of surgical procedures.
Procedures performed by Dr. Williams:
- Inguinal Hernia Repair
- Ventral Hernia Repair
- Femoral Hernia Repair
- Esophageal Surgeries
- Nissen Fundoplication
- Colon resection
- Sigmoid colectomy
- Small bowel resection
If you aren’t certain about robotic surgery, specifically the da Vinci System, check out the many patient advantages.
Advantages for the patient:
- Significant reduction in pain
- Less blood loss
- Lower human error
- Fewer complications and risk of infection
- Smaller surgical scars
- Shorter hospital stays
- Faster recovery
- Less narcotic use
- Ability to return early to daily life
- Better overall patient satisfaction
Dr. Williams performs robotic surgeries weekly at St. Alphonsus and St Luke’s hospitals. He also performs surgeries at Treasure Valley Hospital in Boise.