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September 8, 2017

Maine's first 'next gen' surgical robot arrives at EMMC

Courtesy / Eastern Maine Medical Center
Courtesy / Eastern Maine Medical Center
Dr. Michelle Toder, a general and bariatric surgeon and medical director of Eastern Maine Medical Center's Surgical Weight Loss program, stands next to the hospital's new next-generation surgical robot.

Eastern Maine Medical Center is the first hospital in Maine to acquire a next-generation surgical robot.

The technology, the most advanced of its kind in the nation, provides greater range of motion, a clearer, more defined three-dimensional view for the surgeon and better access to the surgical site. Benefits of robot-assisted surgery vary by procedure but typically include smaller incisions, minimal scarring, faster recovery and less pain. During surgery, the robot's movements are completely controlled by the surgeon's hands from a console next to the robotic arms.

"This new technology is a natural step forward for Eastern Maine Medical Center's robot-assisted surgery program," Dr. Michelle Toder, a general and bariatric surgeon and medical director of the hospital's Surgical Weight Loss program, said in a news release. "As a surgeon who performs hundreds of procedures with the help of the robot each year, it is comforting to know that my patients will continue to benefit from having access to some of the most highly specialized medical care in northern New England."

The hospital's new robot will improve access for patients who could benefit from robotic surgery, but are unable to choose this option because Eastern Maine Medical Center's existing two surgical robots are already booked for other procedures. The technology will be used to perform procedures previously unavailable at Eastern Maine Medical Center, such as certain kinds of robot-assisted thoracic surgery. It will be located in the hospital's new operating suites opening in late October.

EMMC's robot-assisted surgery program began in 2004. The hospital was the first bariatric and general surgery epicenter in the nation designated by Intuitive Surgical, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company that is a global technology leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons from hospitals in the United States and as far away as Japan have come to Bangor to observe surgery and learn the latest robot-assisted surgery techniques from EMMC's surgeons.

The hospital recently took delivery of the robot, and surgeons will begin using it this fall.

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