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UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital First Hospital in Iowa to offer Single Port Robotic Surgery

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da Vinci Single Port SP at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids

New Era In Robotic Surgery

The first single port urologic robotic surgery in the Iowa was recently performed at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital.

Jon Rippentrop, MD, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa urologist performed a single port robotic prostatectomy at St. Luke’s Hospital to remove a cancerous prostate. St. Luke’s is the only hospital in Iowa with the da Vinci Single Port SP, which was initially released to a limited number of hospitals in the world. 

Robotic Urologic Procedures

The da Vinci SP robot is FDA-approved for urologic surgeries at this time but may receive additional FDA approval for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and colorectal surgery in the future. At St. Luke’s the da Vinci SP is used for certain urologic procedures including prostatectomies and nephrectomies. 

With the da Vinci SP surgeons operate using one small (about one inch) incision before deploying the robot’s surgical instruments through a single port. The ability to enter the body using a single port enables surgeons to perform more complex procedures. This minimally invasive surgery improves patient outcomes and recovery time. This is particularly noticeable in cancer cases, where surgeons can now access more narrow spaces without compromising precision. 

To operate using the da Vinci surgeons use a special console with hand and foot controls to move the robot arm and manipulate the surgical instruments. A small, 3D-HD flexible camera helps surgeons see and perform the surgery. The robot translates the surgeons’ natural hand motions at the control console into corresponding movements of the robotic instrument.

Prior to the implementation of the da Vinci SP, a robotic prostatectomy surgery typically involved five to six dime-sized incisions in the patient’s abdomen to insert the minimally invasive instruments. Prior to robotic surgery, patients would undergo open surgery, which required significantly larger incisions and a longer recovery period. Patients that have robotic surgery can resume normal activities in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Eastern Iowa's Robotic Surgery Leader

St. Luke’s robotic surgery program started in late 2005. It was the first hospital in Cedar Rapids to acquire and utilize the technology. Dr. Rippentrop was one of the first surgeons at St. Luke’s to use the da Vinci robot when the program was implemented. Since 2005 there have been 8,148 robotic surgery procedures at St. Luke’s – making it the robotic surgery leader in Eastern Iowa. 

“Single Port robotics is a game changer in the world of surgery,” said Jon Rippentrop, MD, Physicians' Clinic of Iowa, P.C., Department of Urology and St. Luke's medical director of Minimally Invasive Surgery. “It is the beginning of a new era of robotic surgery and it’s exciting that we are once again making history in Cedar Rapids and that St. Luke’s is leading with its early adoption of single port robotics. "
In addition to the da Vinci SP there are two additional da Vinci robots at St. Luke’s where surgeons perform 15 types of minimally invasive procedures. The robots are used for general, gynecology and urology surgeries at St. Luke’s.