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Robotic Assisted Surgery

We understand. Life doesn't stop for your surgical procedure. Which is why Avera offers the latest robotic surgical technology: The da Vinci S™ HD and the da Vinci Si™. Robotics are used for minimally invasive procedures, including prostatectomies, hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, single-incision gallbladder operations, and more. It also can be used in colorectal, kidney and gastric reflux surgeries.

da Vinci® systems integrate three-dimensional, high-definition video and robotic technology to virtually extend the surgeon’s eyes and hands.

Avera McKennan’s surgical team has extensive training and experience in providing leading-edge treatment using robotic-assisted surgery. Surgeons sit at a console equipped with a computer that offers 3-D, high-definition, magnified views. The surgeon then guides the movements of the robotic arms by the use of hand and foot controls. Robotic arms are equipped with instruments that operate through 1-2 centimeter incisions. The robot cannot move without motions being initiated by the surgeon.

The precision of robotic procedures delivers less surgical trauma to patients than open procedures or laparoscopy. Patients experience:

  • Faster recovery and shorter hospital stays
  • Less blood loss and risk of infection
  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Quicker return to normal activities


Robotics can be used to treat benign and malignant diseases of the colon and rectum including:

  • Cancer
  • Rectal polyps
  • Diverticulitis

Board-certified colorectal surgeon, Dr. Scott Baker, is highly trained to perform complex procedures in the confined space of the pelvis. In the case of colorectal surgery, robotics allow the surgeon to navigate around the pelvis while protecting healthy tissue and nerves.

Minimally invasive technology allows the surgeon to keep more of the colon intact, reducing the need for a colostomy. In addition, robotic precision provides a higher chance of preserved sexual function and bladder control.


About 1.2 million surgeries to remove the gallbladder are performed in the U.S. each year, and about 80 percent of them can be performed using robotic-assisted surgery.

Using a specialized platform, these surgeries can be performed through a single incision in the navel. All surgical instruments are inserted through this single port. After the incision heals, the scar is invisible or minimally visible. With the use of robotics, surgeons are able to limit pain, reduce scarring and reduce the chance of infection.

Gynecologic Cancer

In the past, women who faced uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers only had one treatment option: open surgery.

Thanks to extraordinary advances in medicine, women now have several surgical alternatives to choose from. At Avera McKennan, our surgical team performs the very latest techniques using robotic technology that results in shorter recovery time, reduced pain and allows women to get back to their daily lives faster. Robotic-assisted surgery offers additional benefits to the patient not offered by traditional, open gynecological surgical procedures, including better outcomes and exceptional cancer removal ability.


Hysterectomy surgery may be recommended to treat a variety of conditions affecting a woman’s reproductive system, including:

  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Pelvic prolapse
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Female cancers

Common robotic-assisted procedures include:

  • Hysterectomies
  • Lymph node biopsies
  • Myomectomies

These conditions are also treatable with open-incision or laparoscopic procedures. However, a robotic procedure delivers the benefits of reduced pain and a shorter recovery.


People who suffer from various kidney conditions now have more treatment options than ever before. Traditional procedures to treat the kidneys require a large, open incision. Laparoscopy limits the surgeon’s dexterity and visualization.

Robotics allow surgeons to employ high precision and agility, providing access to hard-to-reach organs while preserving healthy tissues and nerves. Robotics provides improved clinical outcomes, and increased potential for kidney preservation.


Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. Each year, approximately 240,000 new cases are diagnosed.

However, with the help of regular prostate-specific antigen screenings, prostate cancer can be detected in its early stages. Early detection allows the use of robotic technology to remove the prostate, and successfully treat prostate cancer.

It is estimated that 65 percent of all prostatectomies in the nation are performed using a da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery system.

Instead of the traditional open procedure, which requires an incision from below the navel down to the groin area, the patient has a few small incisions or operating ports – 1 to 2 centimeters in size – across the abdomen for the insertion of robotic arms.

The technique allows surgeons to spare nerves in the pelvic region, helping to preserve continence and sexual function. Nerves are under 10 times magnification, and the robotic arms are very precise, making it easier for the surgeon to identify those nerves. The latest technology of three-dimensional, high-definition visualization provides enhanced clarity and detail.

According to recent research, compared to radiation, robotic-assisted surgery to remove the cancerous prostate resulted in a lower cancer fatality rate.