What Central Magnet students learned about robotic surgery
Daily News Journal. Nancy De Gennaro. April 19, 2017.


Central Magnet School's senior cafeteria was transformed into an operating room of sorts on Tuesday afternoon when students got hands-on experience with a traveling surgical robot exhibition.

The Science National Honor Society hosted Dr. Brad Chesney, an OB/GYN physician at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, who gave a short presentation on the da Vinci Surgical System to a room full of students and faculty.

"If you've been to the Nissan plant, you know what robotics can do.

(With the da Vinci Robot) I can essentially shrink my hand down really tiny," said Chesney, who headed up the team to bring the technology to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in 2009.

Robot-guided technology allows physicians to operate instruments that bend and rotate like the capacity of a human wrist, giving enhanced precision and control that even laparoscopic lacks, Chesney explained.

And computer software also eliminates any hand tremors that could cause error.

The assistance of the robot-guided system also gives surgeons enhanced vision through a high-definition, 3D screen, he added.

Laparoscopy preceded the robotic technology as the first minimally invasive surgery technique.

But laparoscopy fell short when it came to precise movements needed for many surgeries, Chesney explained.

Robotics allows for a precision that laparoscopy isn't able to offer, along with providing faster healing times and less hospitalization.

In fact, Chesney said most da Vinci surgery patients do not require overnight hospitalization.

"The technology has made it so much easier to do what I need to do.

It's taking things that people would have called impossible and made them possible," Chesney said.

Peering through what looked like a giant view finder, Central Magnet School junior Marlee Bratsch slowly maneuvered tiny surgical arms via a 3D window.

"It felt like virtual reality, except you were moving things with your two little fingers," Bratsch said.

Although Bratsch "didn't find it difficult" to operate the robotic system, she said "it would definitely take a lot of practice getting used to it."

"I think the most difficult part was trying to figure out the depth of the instruments," Bratsch said.

Chesney said it took him about 50 procedures before he fully developed what is called "robotic feel."

"With laparoscopic surgery, if I take an instrument and push it up against you, I can feel that through the tension," Chesney said.

"But you don't have that (with the da Vinci Robot).

But over time, your brain ...learns what it looks like when I touch tissue a certain way and how it responds."

Chesney said the technology will continue to improve and may one day be used remotely by astronauts and military.

As of now, the delay in information relay time has prevented that.

"But it will get there," Chesney said.

Having the da Vinci Surgical System on campus drew the biggest crowd yet to the Science National Honor Society lecture series.

"We have a large population of students who are very interested.

We have a great robotics program in our (career technical education) classes and we also have a huge host of programs in our bio-med CTE classes.

Being able to bring those two together and show robotics and medicine together and what cool things they can do with them is showing students future career paths," Central Magnet physics teacher and adviser Eric Bonanno said.

 


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