Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Robots Aid Surgery at West Penn Allegheny

New robotic technology in the West Penn Allegheny Health System could help some patients recover from surgery faster. The machines allow physicians to perform complicated procedures using smaller incisions. For instance, urologist Jay Lutins says patients who get their prostates removed can leave the hospital in a day rather than three to four days. He says there's also less pain and less blood loss. Lutins says it's not clear yet whether there are also long-term benefits, such as a lower recurrence of cancer.

The machines were first developed for NASA and have also been used on the battlefield. Lutins says they're becoming common in hospitals around the country. In addition to helping treat prostate cancer, the machines can also be used for gynecological procedures like hysterectomies and in cardiovascular surgery.

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