1st LA-area patient undergoes surgery using Da Vinci 5, the most advanced form of robotic surgery

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
1st LA-area patient undergoes surgery using Da Vinci 5 robotic system
A patient at Adventist Health Simi Valley is the first person in the L.A. area to undergo surgery using the Da Vinci 5 robotic surgical system.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Robotic surgery is quickly becoming the method of choice for a growing number of surgical specialties. For patients, this means minimally invasive procedures with very little downtime and pain. One local hospital just launched the most advanced version and the first patients are talking about their experiences.

When a new athletic club opened near her home, 64-year-old Gigi Bean of Thousand Oaks jumped into every activity.

"Tennis, mat Pilates, boot camp and we do weights," she said.

Within a few months, Bean noticed a bothersome bulge on her left side that was giving her pain.

"I kind of had a feeling it probably was a hernia. I knew I had to have surgery," said Bean.

The timing worked out for her to be the first Los Angeles-area patient to get her surgery with the newest FDA-approved robotic surgery system called Da Vinci 5. Adventist Health Simi Valley is one of only 10 hospitals nationwide offering this new technology.

"All of the patients have gone home, same day, no narcotic medication," said Dr. Andrea Pakula, director of robotic surgery. She called the DV5 a highly integrated system that allows surgeons to do more with less equipment. At Adventist Health Simi Valley, it's being used for all forms of general surgery including emergency care.

"When they come into the emergency department with appendicitis, or a perforated intestine or an incarcerated hernia, one that might be a little bit more emergent, all of that can be done robotically," Pakula said.

Compared to previous versions, the DV5 provides forced feedback, where surgeons can actually feel the tugging on tissue. It also provides 4K high definition vision, where doctors can actually see blood flowing through capillaries.

"It's almost like doing open surgery - only it's magnified," she said.

For Bean's hernia, Pakula surgically inserted a protective mesh through three tiny incisions.

"Think about a car tire. If you have a hole in a tire, we patch it from the inside so things can't get back through," she said.

Bean said the only pain medication she needed was Tylenol. Nine days after her procedure, she was cleared to go back to the gym.

"I feel so honored to be her first patient for this wonderful technology," Bean said.

Pakula expects the new robotic surgery system to become more widely available by next year.

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