Busy Robots, Experienced Surgeons:
Robotic Prostatectomy at Hartford Hospital

Hartford Hospital is one of only eight medical centers in the country to have three robots and is in the top 10 in volume of cases. Hartford Hospital surgeons in a variety of disciplines are global leaders in using robotics to provide the very finest surgical care.

wagner_150x388Joseph “Peppie” Wagner, MD, recognized early on the vast potential of robotic surgery. In 2001, this urologic oncology specialist was the second surgeon in the country to perform a robotic radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the prostate. Since then, he has performed over 1,000 such procedures. Today he directs Hartford Hospital’s Robotic Surgery Program, which has grown exponentially since he came to Hartford in late 2003.

Often referred to as a “robot,” the da Vinci® Surgical System is actually a sophisticated surgical tool. The robotic instruments and camera are inserted in the patient through tiny puncture holes. The surgeon operates the device from a console while viewing a magnified, three-dimensional image of the surgical field on a high-definition screen. As the surgeon manipulates the master controls at the console, the small, flexible robotic “hands” at the surgical site replicate his or her movements, performing surgical motions with unparalleled precision.

“The robotic system takes laparoscopic surgery to a new level,” says Dr. Wagner, who is a member of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group. “The robot’s camera gives you a 3-D image with depth perception you don’t get in standard laparoscopy. And because the instruments have wrists, they can do all the rotations and maneuvers your hand can do, but in a smaller space.” Because the surgeon can see better and operate more precisely, and because the flexible robotic “hands” can bend around internal structures that straight laparoscopic instruments can’t, robotics is allowing more and more procedures to be done minimally invasively, and with excellent results.

prostate_540x380Prostatectomy is one of the procedures for which the robot is used most frequently. The operation requires just five tiny abdominal openings, rather than the large incision of just a few years ago. In the hands of these Hartford Hospital physicians, the results in terms of potency, continence and complete removal of cancer are superior to open surgery.

Hartford Hospital urologists are recognized leaders in this field, and have a level of experience few can match. Hartford Hospital surgeons perform hundreds of robotic surgical procedures every year.

Photo Above (Top Right): Joseph Wagner, MD

Minimally Invasive Surgery