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UT Southwestern leads the way in single-incision surgery

Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu performed the first single-incision, laparoscopic, robotic surgery in Texas.
Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu performed the first single-incision, laparoscopic, robotic surgery in Texas.

DALLAS – Nov. 29, 2018 – UT Southwestern Medical Center this week became the first hospital in Texas to perform single-incision, robotic surgery.

The technology allows for all of the necessary surgical tools to be inserted through one small hole rather than several. Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu, Professor of Urology and Radiology, successfully used the new technique to perform surgery on a ureter, the duct that passes urine from the kidney to the bladder.

The single-incision robotic surgery is a form of laparoscopic surgery, which is surgery performed through small incisions and made possible by the use of a tiny video camera inside the area of surgery. Standard laparoscopic prostate surgery requires five or six small incisions.

About 10 years ago, the idea arose of reducing the number of incisions. “Every hole you create in a patient has a risk associated with it. Every incision means increased pain, increased risk of hitting a blood vessel,” said Dr. Cadeddu, a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

From an aesthetic standpoint, fewer incisions also mean fewer scars.

The single-incision laparoscopic surgery was performed using a robot device called the Single Port SP Robot that has four arms that insert through a single hole. Intuitive Surgical Inc., the company that makes the SP Robot, is rolling it out to handful of medical centers initially, including UT Southwestern, which is one of the leading medical centers in the country in robotic surgeries performed. Dr. Cadeddu and Dr. Vitaly Margulis, Associate Professor of Urology, are trained to use the device.

Physician assistant Brad Hornberger works at the patient’s side during the cutting-edge, single-incision surgery.
Physician assistant Brad Hornberger works at the patient’s side during the cutting-edge, single-incision surgery.

While the Single Port SP Robot will initially only be used for urological surgeries such as kidney surgeries and prostatectomies, Dr. Cadeddu expects it will eventually be used for other procedures, such as head and neck surgeries.

And Dr. Cadeddu, who recently performed the first magnet-assisted surgery in Texas, said it is likely that some procedures will be performed using a combination of magnet-controlled tools and the SP Robot.

“We expect this to be the start of a cascade of improved surgical procedures with fewer incisions, meaning less pain and fewer complications for patients,” said Dr. Cadeddu, who holds the Ralph C. Smith, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery.

Intuitive Surgical, the manufacturer of SP Robot, provided travel support for Dr. Cadeddu’s training.

The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of 49 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. and the only one in North Texas, is among just 30 U.S. cancer research centers to be designated by the NCI as a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.