Sharon Regional Medical Center Brings Advanced Robotics Technology to Lawrence and Mercer Counties

Updated on December 3, 2019

Sharon Regional Medical Center is leading the way in the local communities it serves by offering advanced robotic technology to help give patients who need surgery faster recovery times following their procedures. The hospital is the area’s first to bring advanced robotics technologies to patients in Lawrence and Mercer counties, including two individual robotics systems used for general surgery as well as for knee arthroplasty or knee replacement surgery.

The new technology includes the da Vinci® XI Surgical System with Integrated Table Motion system, which can be used across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgeries including gynecology, urology, thoracic, cardiac and general surgery procedures. The second system is called the NAVIO◇ Surgical System, which is used for knee arthroplasty procedures.

Dr. Randy Hofius, a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in hernia and gallbladder surgeries, Dr. Shateel Nijhawan, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon, are performing procedures with the da Vinci system; Dr. Stephen Hand, a board-certified orthopedist, will perform the region’s first robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty in the Mercer and Lawrence county areas in the coming weeks. The trio of physicians was specifically recruited to expand Sharon Regional’s surgical programs, eliminating the need for patients to travel out of the area to receive their surgical care.

“As a leading health care provider in the region, we are committed to bringing the most advanced care and technologies available to the patients we serve,” said Joseph Hugar, president of Sharon Regional Medical Center. “We continue to invest in these and other systems to ensure that our patients have access to the latest medical technologies designed to shorten recovery times and reduce pain associated with surgery. We also plan to expand our robotic-assisted surgical services by training additional surgeons on the technology.”

New Robotics Surgical System for General Surgery

The technology behind the da Vinci ®Xi System includes the use of a 3D high-definition camera inserted through only a few small incisions in the body. The camera provides the surgeon with a crystal-clear and magnified view of the surgical area and allows the physician to fully control the instruments during surgery.

“For those patients deemed appropriate candidates for minimally invasive hernia surgery, robotic- assisted surgery is the best pathway,” said Dr. Hofius. “Early studies report that people feel less pain during recovery than after traditional laparascopic surgery and are more quickly able to return to their daily activities.”

Robotics-Assisted Total Knee Arthroplasty

Dr. Hand’s knee arthroplasty surgical milestone will occur at Sharon Regional Medical Center and represents one of the first CT-free robotics-assisted total knee arthroplasty procedures using the NAVIO◇ Surgical System in the region.

Unlike other robotics-assisted platforms, the NAVIO system does not require a pre-operative CT- scan which reduces costs related to pre-surgical exams. Instead, the surgeon collects patient- specific data during the procedure to build a 3D model of the patient’s knee. This is used to plan the surgery.

“With any total knee arthroplasty surgery, final placement of the implant is critical to providing both the function and longevity that today’s patients expect,” said Dr. Hand. “With the new robotics system, I’m able to see real-time data throughout the surgery that is designed to help place each implant in the optimal location based on each patient’s unique anatomy.”

To perform the procedure, the surgeon uses a handheld robotics-assisted tool that guides where to make an incision, based on the patient-specific data previously collected. This extra layer of precision and accuracy is designed to enable optimal implant placement for better patient outcomes.

Dr. Hand completed his orthopedic fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and joined Sharon Regional and Steward Medical Group recently from a neighboring health system, bringing his years of experience and orthopedic expertise to the region.

“Bringing in new technologies and recruiting additional trained, experienced surgeons like Dr. Hand, are critical steps as we explore expansion of our comprehensive Orthopedic Service offerings including an outpatient orthopedic surgical center,” Hugar said.

Drs. Hofius, Nijhawan, and Hand are members of Steward Medical Group which is a dynamic and growing physician-led multispecialty practice group that is a key part of Steward Health Care – the largest private, tax-paying hospital operator in the United States. The medical group operates practices in 11 states, with both primary care and specialties ranging from Advanced Cardiac Surgery to Women’s Health.

“We are truly thrilled to be a leader in this field and look forward to continue to bring advanced surgical options to Sharon Regional Medical Center,” Hugar said.

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