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W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center - Salisbury, NC


Salisbury VA Acquires Robotic Surgery System

July 30, 2013

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The W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Salisbury has recently acquired a state of the art da Vinci Si Surgical System, which is commonly referred to as a “robotic surgery system.” 

Dr. K. C. Balaji, Chief, Urology Service, will manage and direct the robotic surgery program at Salisbury.  According to Dr. Balaji, the surgical workload over the past year has increased by more than 40 percent.  The acquisition of this new technology is a symbol of the commitment of the facility to providing the highest quality of care to veterans. 

Dr. Balaji says that the da Vinci system is a computer interface between the surgeon and the patient.  Its dual console capability supports collaboration between two surgeons during the surgical procedure which is a critical feature because Salisbury VAMC is “a teaching institution, and part of our goal is to train surgeons to do the procedures safely and effectively,” he said.

The da Vinci system reduces complications and improves surgical outcomes.  It magnifies the field of view by 10 times, allows 3-D visualization in high definition, allows complex surgeries to be done through small holes, eliminating the need for big incisions, decreases blood loss at surgery, and allows patients undergoing surgery to recuperate faster. 

“At first, we will focus on surgery for patients with urology problems, such as prostate cancer and kidney masses and eventually expand to other surgeries, including gynecology, thoracic surgery such as lobectomies, and general surgery.  Our outcomes to date have been excellent.” Dr. Balaji said.  The first robotic surgery took place on March 4, 2013, and 20 surgeries have been performed to date with excellent outcomes.  

“I have been fortunate to work with the robotic surgical technology since its approval for human use over a decade ago.  The technology enhances the surgeon’s capability to perform complex and delicate surgery.  It’s a win-win technology for patients and providers.”


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