da Vinci Robotic Surgeries at Brookings Health System

I'm Dr. Oey-Devine. I am a general surgeon. I work at both Avera Medical Group Brookings and the Brookings Health System. I was born and raised in South Dakota. I went to USD for my undergrad as well as medical school. And then I went down to Kansas for my residency. So, I've been there for my last five years. I've done thousands of surgeries in my residency as well as my medical career.

What General Surgeries Can Doctors Perform Using da Vinci Surgery?

The general surgeries that can be performed using the da Vinci Robot include gallbladder surgery, hernia repairs, both abdominal wall as well as hiatal hernias, and colon surgeries. Basically any minimally invasive surgery that can be done laparoscopically can possibly be done with the robot.

How is da Vinci Surgery Different?

Well, the da Vinci surgery is different from other surgery methods because you have your traditional open surgery, which is through a bigger incision. Then there's laparoscopic surgery which has the small incisions, but you're using long instruments that don't articulate. With the da Vinci Robot you're able to use the small incisions, but then you also get the rotating wrists such as having your tiny hands in the patient's body. Where you get better manipulation of tissue and you get better views because the magnification is so much more with the robot.

What Advantages Does da Vinci Offer Surgeons?

What I appreciate about robotic surgery, being a general surgeon, is that I can move the ends of the instruments around and they articulate, as well as the improved visualization that I get. So it's a 3D picture through the screen that we see.

What Benefits Does da Vinci Surgery Provide for Patients?

The benefits of da Vinci surgery include things such as shorter hospitalizations and that stems from less post-operative pain, because we're able to use smaller incisions. Also, in relationship to laparoscopic surgery we're using less torque on the instruments, because of the manipulation of the wrists, that that decreases the pain as well. Because of the smaller incisions, we also have less risk of infection, and there's less scarring within the abdomen, because we're not opening up the abdomen.

How do Pain and Discomfort Levels Compare to Traditional Surgery?

The benefits I tell patients about are that their pain is decreased. Even in the patients that I've done so far, I've noticed that some of them don't even need a narcotic pain medication after surgery because of the decreased torque on their abdominal wall from the instruments.

What to Expect After Surgery

The length of stay in the hospital is variable depending on the procedure performed. A lot of times, it depends on pain control. Most surgeries done on the da Vinci Robot, such as gallbladder surgery, is a one day procedure. The patient comes in, has it done, go home the same day. Things like a colon surgery, even if the person's pain is completely gone they may still stay a couple days just until their bowels are working again.

Are There Risks Involved?

The main two risks are risk of bleeding, risk of infection. Anytime that we cut on your skin you have those two risks. With da Vinci surgery specifically you have a risk of injury to the surrounding structures just like with any surgery in the abdomen. That risk is decreased, because we have better visualization, as well as better tissue manipulation with the rotating wrists.

Who is a Good Candidate for da Vinci Surgery?

A good candidate for da Vinci surgery is basically anybody who is a candidate for laparoscopic surgery. We like to have a person who has had no surgeries on their abdomen. But even if you've had surgeries on your abdomen, you still may be a candidate. The best thing to do is ask your surgeon about it.

Would You Recommend da Vinci Surgery?

Yes, I would recommend da Vinci surgery at Brookings Health System. It's the same technology that's available in Sioux Falls, at Avera, as well as Sanford. It's well trained surgeons and OB-GYN's doing the procedure. The staff that we have working with the da Vinci Robot is dedicated to the da Vinci Robot, so we know that our results are reproducible.