New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Feature Health

HoCC Using State of the Art Robotic Surgery

Residents don’t need to travel hundreds of miles to get the advanced technology of robotic surgery in a big City hospital. Our local Hospital of Central Connecticut (HoCC) is using state of the art robotic surgery on patients nearly every day.

“Robotics surgery was initially developed in the 1990s by the government during the Gulf War so surgeons who were not on the battlefield could do surgeries remotely,” said Dr. James Massi, chief of surgery at the HoCC. “After the war, a company picked it up and advanced the technology.”

Robotic surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery and has the advantages of giving patients less discomfort as there are only puncture wounds given. This leads to less blood loss, less pain and a quicker recovery rate.

The HoCC has been using this technology for nine months. Its first case was done last November.

“The biggest push has been in urology for prostrate surgery,” said Massi. “Techniques have moved into other areas such as GYN.”

Presently, it is most often used for gynecologic conditions, including gynecologic cancers, and benign conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian remnant and others and urologic conditions, including prostate cancer, kidney cancer and other benign kidney disorders

Massi said both robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery are minimally invasive. But, laparoscopic surgery is only two-dimensional. Robotic surgery, which is controlled by a surgeon, allows for three-dimensional views and movement.

“Instruments in laparoscopic surgery are rigid. Robotics follows the natural movement of your hand,” said Massi. “This is ideal for small confined spaces. It gives a tremendous advantage to surgeons.”

How does the DaVinci® Robotic Surgical System Work?

It is not a robot performing surgery on you. It is robotic arms being moved by a surgeon, who sits at a console and views a magnified, high-resolution, 3-dimensional image of the surgical site. The console is equipped with controls the surgeon uses to precisely manipulate the robotic arms. The robotic arms are fitted with special surgical instruments that precisely reproduce the movement of the human hand, wrist and fingers.

To date 160 robotic surgeries have taken place in the HoCC which was more than the 120 anticipated for this time period.

“We are in the process of having surgical oncologists and colorectal surgeons trained,” said Massi. “Most hospitals are now obtaining this technology and all will have it in the future.”

Massi believes it will eventually move into general surgery. The main problem with it has been that is takes a bit longer than open surgery. But, that is changing. As people become more familiar with the system, times are getting shorter and eventually may not be any longer than any other surgery.

“You need to have a dedicated team to robotic surgery,” said Massi. “This technology is in its infancy. In the future more and more procedures will be done this way.”

Enough procedures, in which, the HoCC is considering bringing in a second robotics machine.

For more information go to