Robotic surgery is quite literally changing the way doctors operate. Just ask the surgeons of Kendall Regional Medical Center.
The 417-bed, full-service Level I trauma center is regularly recognized for excellence in care, part of which, according to hospital leadership, is being at the forefront of new technology. One of the fastest growing procedures at the facility is robotic hernia surgery, with hundreds of these surgeries done each year—mostly thanks to Doctors Carlos Santiago and Braulio Sabates.
“We are definitely one of the leaders in Florida when it comes to this type of surgery,” says Santiago. “When you look at the numbers, we are doing the vast majority.”
So what exactly is a hernia? Hernias are primarily caused when an organ squeezes through a tear or weak spot in the surrounding muscle or tissue they are most commonly found near the groin, belly button or previous surgery scars. Previously, open surgeries would repair the hernia, but leave patients with a recovery time of nearly three weeks. “Hernia surgery has evolved,” explains Santiago, who travels the state teaching the robotic technique. “I had been doing it laparoscopically [before moving to robotics] and now I probably only do one or two open surgeries per year.” Those one-off surgeries are usually required as a result of patient’s previous abdominal surgeries, he says.
This new version of the procedure allows surgeons to repair the hernia with just three small incisions in the abdomen, with the tension of the repair absorbed by the mesh and no need for suturing. Santiago likens it to patching and repairing a flat tire from the inside out. “The recovery is unbelievable,” he says, noting that the outpatient procedure allows most patients to resume normal activity almost right away, and the majority do not need pain medication. Another benefit of robotic surgery is the decreased chance of infection and recurrence. “Mesh infection is almost unheard of,” Santiago says. “The mesh is placed away from any major structures, so mesh erosion doesn’t come into play.”
A longtime member of the Americas Hernia Society and a practicing surgeon for more than 30 years, Santiago calls hernia surgery a “passion” and says bringing the new technique to South Florida over the past three years has been rewarding and exciting for both doctors and patients. “There is an incredibly low chance of recurrence,” he says. “There are no limitations.”
Kendall Regional Medical Center, an award-winning 417-bed hospital, is recognized for providing a wide array of services to the residents of South Florida, as well as visitors from around the world. We offer 24-hour comprehensive medical, surgical and diagnostic services, including trauma and burn care, pediatrics and maternity services, an orthopedic and spine institute, along with patient and community services. For over 44 years, we have been committed to expanding and improving every facet of the organization, devoting significant time and resources to enhancing the facility, staff and medical care. Kendall Regional Medical Center has grown into a major tertiary-care teaching facility, with an outstanding staff that includes more than 850 physicians and specialists and over 1,800 employees, all of whom place importance in making our patients feel welcome and comfortable. www.kendallmed.com