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Four Arms Are Better Than Two: Physician Teams With DaVinci Surgical System To Fight Prostate Cancer
08/11/2009

This summer, DCH welcomed a new urologist who will be able to perform surgical procedures using up to four arms.

A new robotic surgical system called da Vinci Si Surgical platform was put in place at DCH Regional Medical when Dr. Howard Winfield started practicing in West Alabama this summer. Dr. Winfield is the Director of Robotic Surgery for the Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Winfield was previously a Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Iowa Hospitals in

Dr. Howard Winfield at the console of the daVinci S Surgical System.

Iowa City. He was also Director of Laparoscopic, Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery.

The da Vinci Surgical System allows specially trained physicians to use small incisions to introduce miniaturized instruments into a patient’s body. The robotic surgical system that’s coming to DCH is the state-of-the art robotic technology that extends a physician’s capabilities through four-arm robotic surgery, with 3-D, high definition visualization and enhanced magnification. This advanced technology enables new, minimally invasive options for surgical procedures.

The da Vinci system combines computer and robotic technologies to produce robot-assisted surgery. The physician is seated at a console which provides a magnified, high resolution 3-D image of the surgical site. The da Vinci instruments translate precise micro-movements of the physician’s hands with six degrees of freedom – essentially super human movements.

The precision of the robotic surgery makes it possible to treat a broader range of conditions using the minimally invasive approach. The potential benefits to a patient should translate into a shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, less postoperative pain and a faster recovery.

“With the addition of Dr. Winfield to our existing medical community and the da Vinci surgical system, along with the state-of-the art radiation therapy and chemotherapy services that will be available in the new Cancer Center, we will be able to offer the latest and most comprehensive treatment for prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer among men,” DCH Health System President/CEO Bryan Kindred said. “Bringing a renowned urologist with experience in the da Vinci system will help us meet a growing community need.”

“Because of Dr. Winfield’s specialty in urologic surgery, the da Vinci system will be used initially in that area, particularly for prostatic surgery,” Mr. Kindred said. “We anticipate that the da Vinci system will expand our surgical capabilities in other surgical specialty areas as well, such as gynecology.”

“The timing for adding robotic surgery is very good in terms of the opening of the new Cancer Center at DCH,” Dr. Winfield said. “The Cancer Center is planning an enhanced multidisciplinary team approach to treat cancer. As part of the whole robotic surgery program, prostate cancer surgery fits in well.”

The daVinci Surgical System combines computer and robotic technologies to produce robot assisted surgery. EndoWrist® is part of the robotic arm of the daVinci Surgical System.
A treatment plan for prostate surgery, for example, may include robotic surgery and radiation. “A patient would initially meet with a radiation oncologist and me, and in doing that, he would avoid the time and hassle of going to more than one appointment,” Dr. Winfield said. “The patient would see all of his physicians at one time. When you’re not feeling well, you don’t need a lot of aggravation and traveling.”

Dr. Winfield joins Tuscaloosa urologist Dr. Kenneth W. Aldridge of West Alabama Urology Associates in Suite 908 in DCH Medical Tower I. Another board certified urologist will join Dr. Winfield and Dr. Aldridge later this year.

“Dr. Winfield has extensive experience in laparoscopic and robotic urologic surgery,” Dr. Aldridge said. “He is nationally recognized for training urologists in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He will continue to offer training to physicians from throughout the country and abroad here in Tuscaloosa.”

“It will be gratifying to help begin a robotic surgical program here because there is a real need for robotic surgery in the community and the greater Tuscaloosa area,” Dr. Winfield said. “I foresee DCH becoming a center of excellence in urologic surgery and other minimally invasive surgeries.”

A native of Montreal, Canada, Dr. Winfield is married and the father of four children. He has been a practicing urologist for 25 years and in academia for 23 of those years.




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