Fredericksburg Parent

September 2019

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16 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2019 With her eyes and face immersed in a high-tech console, Dr. Zeenat Patel per- forms a series of precise gestures using tools that to some might look more at home in the world of gaming than the world of medicine. Dr. Patel—an obstetrician/gynecologist with Elite Women's Health—is one of seven surgeons, and currently the only female surgeon, performing procedures with a rev- olutionary robotic surgery system at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. The console is Patel's window into a three-dimensional, high-definition view of the area she is working on. She is seated at the console across the room from her patient, who is hooked up to the robot. Patel uses her fingers, wrists and feet to control the robot. "It's like being in a virtual world, almost like a video game," she says. A REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY Mary Washington Hospital's robotic surgery program dates to 2007. When the program celebrated its tenth anniversary, the hospital invested $2.7 million to purchase the upgraded da Vinci Xi Surgical System. Dr. Gregory Szlyk, director of the robotic surgery program at Mary Washington Hospital, has said this technology "will completely revolutionize the way we practice medicine." The upgraded da Vinci robot gives surgeons an enhanced degree of flexibility and range of articula- tion in the gestures they can use to manipulate the instruments. "It's like using chopsticks to pick up a single grain of rice," Patel says. "You have to use very subtle movements to guide the robot to do what you want." The da Vinci Xi's improved, multi-directional cameras also give surgeons a true three-dimensional view of the area they are working in, with the ability to zoom in and zoom out. Patel says these capabilities allow her to work on more complicated cases than she could with tradi- tional laparoscopic surgery. Patel is currently using the da Vinci robot to perform hysterectomies with and without removal of ovaries. She says robotic hysterectomies make up about 20 to 25 percent of her surgeries today. She praises Mary Washington Healthcare for its commitment to the robotic surgery program, which is also used in urologic surgeries and in hernia repair. WRITTEN BY EMILY FREEHLING Cutting-edge Technologies Bring Better Outcomes For Women Cutting-edge T

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