2 Hawaii surgeons weigh in on robot-assisted procedures

Two surgeons told Hawaii News Now why they perform robot-assisted procedures at The Queen's Medical Center, where surgical robots have been used in 10,000-plus operations.

The hospital's robotic committee chairman and general surgeon Steven Nishida, MD, has used surgical robots in more than 900 procedures. Jon "Kai" Yamaguchi, MD, also performs robot-assisted general and transplant surgeries at The Queen's Medical Center.

The Honolulu-based hospital is one of 19 in the world with Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci SP system, which it introduced in March. A surgical robot can cost more than $2 million.

Three quotes from the surgeons:

Dr. Nishida on using da Vinci: "This robot has one hole that allows us to enter with instruments. They spread apart inside the body, and [it] allows us to manipulate and cut tissues and take out things like prostate cancer."

Dr. Yamaguchi on ease of use: "Not that it would make somebody who's not a surgeon necessarily safe to do it, [but in] 20 minutes I can teach you how to do a hernia ― at least the steps to go down."

Dr. Nishida on other clinical benefits: "The big advantage from my point of view is that the robot allows us to work with more precision, so I can take out more lymph nodes and do a much more precise job of operating than I could with my hands."

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