JANUARY 25--American robotic surgery pioneer Celeste Hollands, M.D., of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Shreveport, LA) made medical history last week by correcting a stomach blockage in a 19-day-old infant using a robotic system called ZEUS to perform the minimally invasive surgery. The first such robotic surgery worldwide, the procedure conformed to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for its use, according to Dr. Hollands.
The ZEUS Robotic Surgical System is a product of Computer Motion Inc. (Goleta, CA; www.computermotion.com), a high-tech medical-device company that develops, manufactures, and markets computer-enhanced and robotic surgical systems. The robotic system is designed for minimally invasive microsurgical procedures. A ZEUS system was used in the world's first transatlantic telesurgery in September 2001 when a surgeon in New York operated on a patient located in France.
"We were very pleased with the use of Zeus on this infant," Hollands said. "Thanks to advances in technology such as Zeus and miniaturization, patients like this baby today experience only a tiny incision rather than the major open surgeries that were necessary just a few years ago."
During the procedure, Dr. Hollands stood at the Zeus console positioned next to the operating table and was able to use the controls that operate the "arms" of the Zeus robot. Dr. Hollands performed the surgery while viewing a magnified video image from inside the patient's body on her console screen. "What is really important here is that the Zeus system may allow me to decrease surgical trauma to the patient, which translates into a shorter hospital stay and reduced costs, recovery pain, and time for the patient," said Dr. Hollands.
The FDA gave limited approval for use of Zeus in October 2001. Dr. Hollands foresees future broad application of the robotic system in pediatric surgery.