MaineGeneral invests in latest surgical robot technology

AUGUSTA — MaineGeneral Medical Center continues to invest in state-of-the-art equipment to expand access to minimally invasive surgeries in the Kennebec Valley.
The medical center recently upgraded its surgical robot in Augusta to a model that advances robotic surgery techniques. MaineGeneral has also installed a surgical robot at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville, where only outpatient surgeries are performed.
“Patients find that surgeries performed with the robot require less pain medication and fewer complications, and they are able to return home sooner,” said Dr. Ian Reight, head of MGMC’s robotic surgery team. “The new robot reduces incision sites for gallbladder surgery from the standard three sites to one, leading to even quicker recovery times.
“The surgical robot gives us the ability to perform surgeries that we used to have to send patients elsewhere for. With the increase in our commitment to robotic surgery, this trend only increases, and more patients can stay near home for more complex procedures, like abdominal wall reconstruction for hernia repair and complex urologic procedures.”
MaineGeneral is currently the only medical center in the state using the surgical robot for emergency procedures, meaning the robot and medical staff trained in robotic surgery are available 24/7. The new surgical robot enhances access throughout the abdomen and chest, and is primarily used for surgeries in the areas of bariatric, colorectal, gynecology, urology, thoracic and general surgery.
The new robot model has overhead arm instruments that are designed to have better anatomical access from virtually any position and greater range of motion. Additionally, the new robot has an advanced 3D-HD vision system to give the surgeon a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient.
“Surgeons can access more of the body at many angles and have crystal-clear visualization and lighting,” said Reight.
Adding a surgical robot at the Thayer Center for Health enhances services available at the outpatient center in Waterville. “More surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis,” said Chuck Hays, CEO of MaineGeneral Health. “A patient can have their surgery in the hospital and go home — where they want to be. MaineGeneral’s committed to ensuring access to the highest quality care across the region.”

PHOTO: Dr. Ian Reight, head of robotic surgery at MaineGeneral Medical Center, seated at a console in the back corner of the room (not seen in photo), is controlling the robotic arms. (Submitted photo)