EIRMC boasts Idaho’s first fully integrated surgical robotics suite

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Stephan Rockefeller | EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center unveiled its new fully integrated surgical robotics suite Friday, the first facility of its kind in the state.

The 800-square-foot operating suite includes EIRMC’s Da Vinci Surgical Robot System and a new fully loaded high-definition laparoscopic video system.

Laparoscopic surgery, often referred to as minimally invasive surgery, is a procedure with the assistance of a video camera and several thin instruments. During the surgical procedure, small incisions of up to half an inch are made and plastic tubes, called ports, are placed through the incisions.

The camera and the instruments are then introduced through the ports, which allow access to the inside of the patient.

Stephan Rockefeller | EastIdahoNews.com

The video camera becomes a surgeon’s eyes in laparoscopy surgery since the surgeon uses the image from the video camera positioned inside the patient’s body to perform the procedure.

The surgical suite is the only one of its kind in Idaho and puts EIRMC at the forefront of robotic and laparoscopic surgery, hospital officials said.

These tools give EIRMC patients the opportunity to undergo surgeries with lower recovery times and fewer post-surgical complications.

“We had the Da Vinci technology, but we didn’t have it in a room this size,” Admin Director Barry Hawthorne said during Friday’s open house. “A lot of (hospitals) have the Da Vinci, but what they don’t have is the full integration of all the video and laparoscopy.”

The surgical room was designed to house all the electronic equipment that supports the surgical robot and the redundant video systems. The majority of electrical and communication cables are run within the walls, eliminating trip and contamination hazards.

With less equipment out, the turnover time is drastically shorter between surgeries. Hospital employees can scrub the room and decontaminate in 15 to 20 minutes.

It can also function as a trauma surgery room.

Multiple monitors adorn the walls of the surgical suite, allowing support staff to see the same view that the surgeon sees while operating the Da Vinci robot.

Jessica Clements | EIRMC Marketing & Community Relations Specialist

“This is a part of a bigger expansion of our laparoscopy and video technology throughout all of our operation rooms, and this is just the first one,” Hawthorne said.

The state-of-the art operation room housed its first surgery May 30 and has housed between 15 to 20 since.

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