West Hills Hospital March 01, 2019

WEST HILLS, CALIF. — West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, a full-service acute care facility, has successfully performed the first robotic bariatric surgery in the San Fernando Valley. This minimally invasive weight loss surgery is performed on patients with obesity who are unable to lose weight with diet and exercise.

Prior to the development of this robotic approach, West Hills Hospital performed bariatric surgery with the use of laparoscopy. This procedure uses a tiny video camera that is inserted through a small incision, allowing for less pain, easier recovery and better outcomes. However, the laparoscopic instruments have limitations, including range of motion. Robotic bariatric surgery offers the same benefits as the laparoscopic technique and also helps overcome the challenges.

In this new approach to weight loss surgery, the surgeon's hand controls a robot that enhances the precision, stability and visualization of the procedure. Using a 3D camera, the robot provides a clear and steady view of the surgical field, giving the surgeon more control during the operation. In addition, the robot has tiny, refined wrist-like movements that allow for better suturing.

"We are excited to be the first hospital in the greater San Fernando Valley to perform this surgery," said Dr. Mark Paya, the general surgeon at West Hills Hospital who performed the procedure. "Robotic bariatric surgery is the latest evolution in surgical technique. It allows us to perform less-invasive surgeries, while making many aspects of the procedure more exact. We're thrilled to be able to let our community know that this new approach is available to them."

Sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are two examples of bariatric surgeries commonly performed using robotics. However robots can also be used for other operations, including surgeries for hernias, gastric reflux and gallbladders.