Bay Area Hospital celebrates first robot-aided surgeries

COOS BAY – The first four surgeries using the da Vinci Si robotic technology at Bay Area Hospital all were successes.

Dr. Steven Tersigni said he performed three surgeries Wednesday and a fourth on Thursday. Two were procedures to correct gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia; a third was a gall bladder removal; and the fourth repaired a bilateral inguinal hernia.

Tersigni said two of the patients went home the same day. The other two stayed overnight at the hospital.

"I'm already looking forward to doing some more advanced cases," Tersigni said.

Tersigni, a board-certified surgeon with nearly 20 years' experience, said the robot-assisted procedures weren't much different from the many laparoscopic surgeries he has performed.

"We've been doing laparoscopy for years, and this is just a tool to assist laparoscopy," he said.

Like laparoscopy, the da Vinci robot reaches the patient's internal organs through tiny incisions. The robotic instruments are more stable and precise than laparoscopy instruments, and they offer 360-degree maneuverability, Tersigni said. The system also gives the surgeon a better view than laparoscopy allows.

Patients lose less blood, feel less pain and go home sooner than they would with conventional surgery, he said.

Tersigni is one of three surgeons who have trained to use the da Vinci at Bay Area Hospital. Dr. Laurie Hamilton and Dr. John Muenchrath will begin using the device next week.

The hospital's six-person "da Vinci team" spent nearly three months training to use the $2 million robotic equipment. Melissa Coy, clinical manager of Bay Area Hospital's operating room, said an expert "proctor" who evaluated the initial procedures was impressed by the team's performance.

Once the core team has gained experience using the technology, other hospital staff members will be trained, Coy said.

Besides its advantages for patients, the robotic technology reduces fatigue for the surgical team, Coy said. The surgeon works sitting down, operating the robot with hand and foot controls, rather than stooping over an operating table.

The easier posture actually may extend the careers of some surgeons, Tersigni said.

Tersigni is certified by the American Board of Surgery. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He specializes in breast, thoracic, bariatric and general surgery.

Bay Area Hospital is owned by residents of the Bay Area Health District, who elect its five-member Board of Directors. It is the largest acute care center on the Oregon Coast and offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Bay Area Hospital's inpatient and outpatient services include medical, surgical, behavioral health, pediatric, critical care, home health, oncology, obstetrics and other specialties. Bay Area Hospital is the only Joint Commission-accredited hospital on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Though publicly owned, Bay Area Hospital collects no local taxes. Learn more at www.bayareahospital.org.

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Want to see it?

Surgeons will demonstrate the da Vinci technology at a Bay Area Hospital open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. The open house also will feature other new services such as inpatient dialysis and interventional cardiology, and air ambulances will be on display. The public is welcome, and refreshments will be served. The open house takes place in the main lobby, just inside the hospital's new main entrance on the north side.

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Media Advisory

To arrange interviews with Dr. Tersigni or Melissa Coy, call 541-269-8511, or leave a message for her at 541-269-8020.

Attached photo

Dr. Steven Tersigni explains the 360-degree maneuverability of the da Vinci Si robotic surgery technology.

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