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Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/24/2014
Format: 04/24/2014


Observer-Reporter: Gaining an edge: Robotic surgery

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

By Denise Bachman,

CANONSBURG – Mindy Eustis is no doctor, but she figured something was seriously wrong when she could no longer digest her oatmeal.
And she was right.

The band used to create a small pouch in her stomach during vertical-banded gastroplasty six years earlier had flipped, creating a sea of adhesions in her abdomen and causing her stomach to attack her liver.

But Dr. Miro Uchal, director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Center education program at Allegheny General Hospital and its Division of Bariatric Surgery, thought he could help.



Using robotic surgery, Uchal performed a complex bariatric procedure last May at AGH in which he converted Eustis from the vertical-banded gastroplasty – a procedure that AGH no longer performs – to a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, which is considered the hallmark of weight-loss surgery.

The laparoscopic procedure was done with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, originally developed by NASA for operating remotely on astronauts in space and used by the Department of Defense to operate on soldiers in the battlefield. The da Vinci system includes robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments that are remotely controlled by surgeons sitting at a console in the operating room. The precision-perfect arms of the robotic technology and high-resolution, three-dimensional endoscopic camera provide easier access to some of the more inaccessible areas in the anatomy.

“Basically, the surgeon is using all four limbs. It’s like four-wheel drive,” said Uchal, who began using the technology in 2008. “It gives me unbelievable freedom of movement … and 10 times magnification.

To read more, visit the Observer-Reporter website.

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