Drs. Jeffrey Leslie and Juan C. Prieto, pediatric urologists at Methodist Children’s Hospital, are the first in the city to perform robotic surgery on children ages 5 to 18. Using the da Vinci Surgical System®, a robot controlled by a surgeon while seated at a console with hand and foot pedals, surgeons can make very precise, complex motions that are facilitated by robotic technology.
The surgeries address symptoms that include abdominal pain, kidney function, blood in urine and kidney stones as well as urine reflux from the bladder to the kidney and urinary obstruction. Children may be diagnosed with obstructions of the urinary tract or have abnormalities of the kidneys and/or urinary tract system.
“The robot is an excellent alternative to a large incision surgery and even a better option than laparoscopic surgery in some instances,” said Dr. Prieto, M.D., pediatric urologist. “The advantage of the da Vinci Surgical System® is better visualization that is high definition and three-dimensional, providing surgeons with an optimal view of the abdominal structures and organs without the need for a large incision.”
Advantages of smaller incisions include less pain as the child recovers, less use of pain medication, less risk of infection due to there being no large open wound, and a shorter recovery time. With robotic surgery, one incision is placed at the umbilicus and then two additional incisions of about 5 to 8 millimeters are placed in the abdomen to insert robotic instruments.
“For parents whose children need surgery for urological problems, this is an excellent alternative,” said Dr. Prieto. “Also, recent studies have shown no difference in terms of success rates between robotic pyeloplasty (urinary tract surgery) compared to open or laparoscopic pyeloplasty.”
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