News and Information

September 10, 2012

St. Joseph Medical Center, Surgeon Earn Elite Status For Robot-Assisted Surgery

Thoracic Surgeon Baiya Krishnadasan, MD, and St. Joseph Medical Center have been designated as a "da Vinci Surgeon/Site Thoracic Epicenter," an achievement that recognizes excellence in the use of the surgical robot to perform minimally invasive procedures.

Surgeons from other parts of the nation now go to the Franciscan Health System hospital in Tacoma to learn advanced techniques from Dr. Krishnadasan (pictured) as a result of this designation.

Thoracic Surgeon Baiya Krishnadasan MD

To date, only six hospitals and surgeons in the U.S. have been recognized as thoracic epicenters. St. Joseph and Dr. Krishnadasan are the only designees on the West Coast. The closest epicenter site to St. Joseph Medical Center is in Detroit, Mich. He and the medical center received the recognition for excellence from Intuitive Surgical, the company that manufactures the da Vinci Surgical System Robot. The company facilitates training of surgeons in complex procedures using the state-of-the-art technology

"I look forward to teaching surgeons about robotics and how this advanced technology can benefit them and their patients," said Dr. Krishnadasan, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). He is the thoracic medical director at St. Joseph Cardiothoracic Surgeons where he specializes in surgical procedures in the lungs, esophagus and other organs in the chest. Dr. Krishnadasan has performed more than 200 procedures with the da Vinci robot and uses the technology for a large percentage of his surgeries.

"Patients who experience robot-assisted thoracic surgery usually have shorter stays in the hospital and quicker recovery times than those who undergo conventional surgery," he said. "Because many of our thoracic patients are being treated for cancer, these benefits can make a significant difference in helping them regain strength so they may continue chemo or radiation therapies."

St. Joseph Medical Center began its robot-assisted surgery program in 2008. Including Dr. Krishnadasan, there are 16 surgeons on the Franciscan medical staff performing procedures with the da Vinci robot. Approximately 2,500 gynecologic, thoracic, urologic and general surgeries using the sophisticated technology have been performed at St. Joseph. Three surgical robots are based at the hospital.

The da Vinci technology enables surgeons to perform delicate operations through a few tiny incisions with enhanced visualization, precision, dexterity and control. The robot features four interactive arms that are fully controlled by the surgeon, high-definition and three-dimension visualization, and an ergonomic console where the surgeon sits during the operation. The da Vinci technology allows the surgeon to access the body’s interior through small incisions (often only 1-2 centimeters wide) rather than long, deep incisions characteristic of standard surgery.

"This sophisticated technology provides an array of benefits for surgeons and our patients," Dr. Krishnadasan said. "The robot is an important tool for helping us provide our patients with the right care and at the right time."

In addition to the surgeon, the team of professionals who are present during robot-assisted procedures includes specially trained nurses and surgical technologists.

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