Peconic Bay Medical upgrades da Vinci robot

In May 2010, Peconic Bay Medical Center became Suffolk County’s first community hospital to add a da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to its medical staff.

Before that, the only hospital with the surgical robot was Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Now, the Riverhead hospital has upgraded to what officials there describe as “the state-of-the-art da Vinci Si system, which will expand the medical center’s capabilities to perform increasingly complex surgeries.”

The older model was turned in for the newer technology, a hospital spokeswoman said.

“We are thrilled to have brought this newest advancement in technology to our community,” says Dr. Richard Kubiak of Peconic Bay, adding that the Si unit promises to expand on all the benefits already achieved with the original system.

“Our new unit is a dual console system, says Dr. Kubiak, which will enable two of our surgeons to team up on a complex surgery.

The da Vinci uses state-of-the-art technology to remotely perform prostate, gynecological and renal operations, among other procedures, hospital officials said.

To use the machine, a surgeon, sitting at a separate console, operates two remote robot hands via video screen, hand controls and foot pedals. There are two monitors, one for each eye, giving the doctor 3-D depth perception while operating.

Andrew Mitchell, the president and CEO of Peconic Bay Health, the hospital’s parent organization, said the new, dual console system “will also enable us to expand the number of great surgeons who perform advanced surgeries in our region, which will be a great benefit to all the people of our communities.”

About the da Vinci robot

• The system was named after artist Leonardo da Vinci, who is credited with inventing the first robot.

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for use in operations in 2000.

• More than 1,000 units have been sold worldwide for operation in hospitals.

• The robot costs about $1.3 million, in addition to several hundred thousand dollars in annual maintenance fees.

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See a video demonstration at Peconic Bay from 2010: