Shawnee Mission Medical Center to Host Robot-Assisted Surgery


A robotic nephrectomy utilizes minimally invasive techniques to remove the kidney. Depending on the size of the tumor, a partial or radical nephrectomy is performed. While a partial nephrectomy involves removing a small portion of the kidney, a radical nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney and the fatty tissue surrounding it. According to Sweat, the robotic procedure offers a number of patient advantages over traditional open surgery.

"There is always a possibility of using the robot during any open surgery and we choose the minimally invasive approach whenever we can," she said. "With the robot, we are able to make small incisions, which are less painful for the patient. It's especially beneficial in kidney cases with the ability to operate using small incisions instead of a flank incision in the lower side of the body."

In addition to less pain, a robotic nephrectomy also allows for less blood loss, shorter hospital stay and the ability for patients to get back to their normal lifestyle sooner.

"With the da Vinci, we can get a true sense of how structures are interacting with each other," Sweat said. "The magnification is tremendous and truly raises the standard of care for complex surgeries, translating into numerous potential patient benefits."

In addition to a robotic nephrectomy, the da Vinci system can be used for multiple urologic procedures including the following:

-    Prostatectomy (removal of prostate for cancer)
-    Stone removals from the urinary system
-    Ureteral obstruction (when the kidney becomes blocked)

In 2002, SMMC was the first hospital in a five-state area and one of just 18 hospitals in the nation to begin using the da Vinci to perform minimally-invasive procedures. The hospital was the first to purchase the newest version of the robot in the Kansas City area during 2009 and has also performed the most da Vinci procedures in the metropolitan area.



David Emmott

David Emmott, MD

Susan Sweat

Susan Sweat, MD

John Strickland

John Strickland, MD