Blessing Health System invites the public to "test drive" a surgical robot.

Blessing Health System invites the public to "test drive" a surgical robot.  The special event will be held Saturday, March 17 at the Town & Country Inn and Suites on North 54th Street in Quincy. Interested people can drop by any time between 10 a.m. and noon and sit behind the controls of a daVinci surgical robot and experience what a surgeon sees and feels in the operating room. Those attending will also learn what robotic procedures are currently available at Blessing. 

The benefits of robotic surgery are smaller incisions that can reduce pain and shorten hospital stays and recovery time. The four arms of the daVinci robotic system work through very small incisions — half the size of a dime — controlled by the surgeon from a console in the operating room.  The doctor is able to move the arms at angles human hands cannot move, and through the camera can see the surgical area in high definition, magnified up to 10 times. 

The system can be used for minimally invasive gynecologic, urologic, thoracic, cardiac and general surgical procedures. 

Blessing Hospital has upgraded its daVinci robot system to the latest technology. The enhanced features of the daVinci XI system now available at Blessing include 3-dimensional-high definition visualization of the operating field; new overhead instrument design to allow access to a surgical site from virtually any position and greater range of motion, the ability to place the robot's camera on any of the four arms providing flexibility for visualizing the surgical site and longer instrument shafts to give surgeon's greater operative reach. 

"Upgrading our surgical robotic technology provides surgeons with enhanced minimally invasive options, allowing more patients to get the care they need locally," said Harsha Polavarapu, MD, colon and rectal cancer surgeon, Blessing Physician Services. "The next-generation of surgical robot will also help us attract new surgeons who trained on this technology," 

Blessing purchased its first daVinci surgical robot in 2011. 

Members of Blessing's Weight Loss Center, Breast Center and Cancer Center teams will also be present during this event.