Surgeon and Robot Team to Perform New Surgery

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids makes medical history.

Thursday morning, Dr. Kevin Kopesky will remove a patient's gall-bladder at St. Luke's Hospital. He'll do it with just one incision and the help of a robot. St. Luke's said this will only be the second time this surgery has been done in Iowa. It's the first time a surgeon has done it in Cedar Rapids.

Dr. Kopesky will use his hands and feet to control the robot throughout the procedure. The machine translates the surgeon's motions into movements the robot makes on the patient.

The Cedar Rapids surgeon has performed several robotic surgeries. This, however, will be the first time he's done a gallbladder removal procedure with only one small incision at the belly button. A small high-tech camera will allow him to see what's going on inside.

Dr. Kopesky said, for him, using the robot is like flying a plane.

"You work in conjunction with both your hands moving the yoke and the rudders with your feet. Your feet have multiple petals that you can focus the scope, you can move in and out, you can tilt it, you can do all kinds of different things," Dr. Kopesky said.

The surgeon said compared to other typical gallbladder removal surgeries, this one will reduce pain and recovery time.

It also has cosmetic benefits because the patient will only have one single-incision, instead of several cuts or openings in the abdomen.

Dr. Kopesky said this robotic surgery is another way people can see the changes happening in the medical field.

"We did things in a very similar fashion for about five to eight years, I was practicing. And an explosion occurred where the melding of technology and physicians needs came together," Dr. Kopesky said.

St. Luke's will provide live coverage of the surgery and will send out tweets about what is going on.

It starts at 11:00 Thursday morning.
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