FLORENCE, S.C. -- Robotic-assisted surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery that is offered at McLeod Health, and it is growing in popularity.
These procedures offer shorter hospital stays, smaller scars, less pain and a quicker return to normal activities.
Dr. Wayne Holley, a McLeod thoracic surgeon, said that during the procedure, he has better visualization and more precision and makes smaller incisions.
“With the technology of fiber optics, we have video scopes that can be inserted through five-millimeter incisions, so the scope goes in between the ribs, we make two other incisions, we work through those incisions while we’re looking in the scope on a monitor,” Holley said.
With added technology, a robot becomes an extension of the surgeon’s hands.
“They use that same video scope in the chest, but instead of me working my tools through the chest wall, we insert robot arms with special tools on the end of those arms,” Holley said. “I sit at a console five, 10, 15 feet away, and I drive those arms and drive the scope away from the patient.”
McLeod has two robots for surgery.
“As this technology is adopted by more and more of the surgeons, I predict we’re going to need a third robot very soon,” Holley said.
Holley came to McLeod in December of 2017. He has more than 32 years of surgical experience. Holley paused his career in 2014 to receive further education specifically in robotic surgery. He said he sees potential to grow a program in robotic surgery at McLeod.
“McLeod is very progressive,” Holley said. “They set the bar for care pretty high.”
Holley said there are few robotic thoracic surgeons in South Carolina.
“If you look at the geography, McLeod is perfectly situated to potentially draw from Columbia all the way over to the coast,” Holley said. “We are in the business of growing this practice.”
At McLeod, surgeons currently perform robotic-assisted surgery in general surgery, urology, gynecology and thoracic surgery. Conditions treated with robotic-assisted surgery include hernia, gallbladder, colon cancer, kidney disease, lung cancer and tumors.
“In 2018 at the current numbers of robotic procedures in the United States, there will be over a million robotic procedures done,” Holley said.