At the end of May, Dr. Samuel Taylon at Overland Park Regional Medical Center hit a milestone.
What happened: The neurosurgeon performed his 100th robot-assisted surgery, which came on the heels of the doctor completing his third year at the hospital off Quivira Road near I-435.
- “We’ve had great success and great outcomes using this equipment,” he said. “I think that it shows a lot of positive things can be accomplished with hospital administration doctors on the same page.”
Where he started: As the son of a neurosurgeon, Taylon said he grew up with a strong exposure to medicine and neurosurgery.
- He gravitated toward neurosurgery, which focuses on injuries to the brain and spinal cord, because of its complexity and the range of patients involved in it, from newborns to those 65 and older.
- Taylon first learned about robotic-assisted surgery during a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where the fellowship director there was a leading neurosurgeon on the development of a surgical robot system.
- “To kind of take what I learned in that fellowship and really apply it to what I call the real world has been great,” Taylon said.
What is robotic surgery? During robotic-assisted surgery, or simply robotic surgery, surgeons use robotic arms and a digital screen to position and control instruments during surgery.
- At HCA Midwest’s six Kansas City hospitals, including Overland Park Regional, robotic surgery is used on a large range of procedures — from ear, nose and throat surgery to hysterectomies.
- Those six hospitals have 100 robotically-trained surgeons and 28 robotic surgical systems.
- The ExcelciusGPS robotic surgery system, which initially arrived at Overland Park Regional Medical Center at the end of 2020, combines a robotic arm and a screen with a full navigation system so doctors can see exactly what it’s doing.
What does it help with? Taylon said the presence of a robot in surgery aids three main things: accuracy, safety and efficiency.
- For patients who have had previous surgeries or have spinal deformities, he said, robots can help put in implants with extra precision.
- On top of precision, robot operations can also create less blood loss with smaller incisions and less radiation than some older techniques.
- “This is not a thing we turn on and then it goes into surgery and I walk away,” Taylon said. “It’s more of a ‘co-bot’, meaning that it helps the doctor do the operation.”
Where robotic surgery is headed: Christine Hamele, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Community Affairs for HCA Midwest, said robotics and doctors trained on used robotic surgery systems are becoming something patients actively seek out when looking for a surgeon.
- “Patients — especially, I would say, within 40 to 55 year olds — they are seeking out this alternative,” she said.
- Ultimately, as robotics continues to move into the medical world, Taylon said it will help patients in the long-run.
“I think that as technology improves, we’ve shown that it rolls into better patient outcomes,” he said. “There’s a lot of growth and a variety of different directions around the robot itself, which is super exciting.”