New surgical robot helps patients heal faster

Essentia Health surgical teams are using a new surgical robot called the da Vinci Xi Surgical System to help improve patients’ recovery.

“The new Xi robot allows our 15 robotic surgeons to perform a wider variety of surgeries with a minimally invasive approach,” said Dr. Paul Tonkin, a urologic surgeon who heads up the robotics program at Essentia. “For our patients, this often results in faster recovery time, a shorter hospital stay, less pain, fewer narcotic pain medications, and a faster return to work and important activities. Many of our patients have told us that they only took over-the-counter medications for minor discomfort following robotic surgery. Similarly, most of our patients strongly desire to have their medical and surgical care close to home.”

Essentia Health’s team of surgeons has been using robots for 13 years. Before adding the $2.5 million Xi, more than 400 robotic surgeries were performed each year at St. Mary’s. Surgeries range from general, colorectal, urologic and gynecologic procedures. The new robotic system will allow surgeons to better operate in challenging areas.

“Essentia Health has been at the forefront of minimally invasive surgery since 2004, when our surgeons performed the first robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery in Duluth,” said Dr. Tonkin. “Our recent addition of our second robot in Duluth is consistent with our motto: ‘Here with you.’”

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