Dubuque will see more precise surgeries - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque will see more precise surgeries

Simulation exercises help surgeons and nurses become acquainted with the device Simulation exercises help surgeons and nurses become acquainted with the device

A new machine at one Dubuque hospital will soon be revolutionizing surgery for people in the Tri-State area.

Already, hospitals in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City have the device. Soon, surgeons at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque will have greater accuracy.

Four operating room nurses make up Mercy's robotics team. They'll help assist surgeons using Mercy's new device, the Da Vinci.

With a pinch and the push of a few pedals, surgeons can manipulate the robotic arms to be as precise as possible.

Dr. Warren Gall will be one of seven surgeons to begin using the machine in June.

"The fine dexterity that you have with the machine, it's amazing," he said. "The surgery allows for smaller incisions and it's pretty precise, it's magnification 3D surgery, so it's much more delicate than the traditional surgery, which means it's less trauma, so the patient should recover faster. They usually go home in two or three days."

The machine has a camera that goes inside the patient's body.

"You get a 3-D vision," operating nurse Deb Didesch said, "being able to do very fine microsurgery."

The Da Vinci is not yet assisting in surgeries at Mercy. Those operations will begin in June. For now, doctors and nurses are still training on it using simulation exercises. The nurses are familiarizing themselves with the device, though it's just surgeons who will be manipulating it for actual medical procedures.

"With the price of gas and everything else, it's kind of expensive for the family to stay in a hotel and then make the return trips, too, for follow up," Gall said.

Once it's up and running, Gall said, surgeons will likely use it on a daily basis.

The Da Vinci first hit the market in 1999. Mercy Medical Center's is the third edition.

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