PLATTSBURGH CVPH Medical Center now has a new piece of technology that is expected to not only benefit its patients, but also attract physicians considering relocating to the North Country. The CVPH administration and staff unveiled its new da Vinci Surgical System during a press conference at the hospital Aug. 13. The conference was held to demonstrate its ease of use and discuss three successful cases the system has been used for since it was installed earlier this month. Dr. Gamal H. Eltabbakh, from Lake Champlain Gynecologic Oncology, South Burlington, Vt., was the first physician to utilize the unit, performing all three surgeries. These cases were difficult laparoscopic surgeries that could not have been done with conventional laparoscopic techniques, explained Eltabbakh. The unit brings the operating capability of CVPH and its physicians to a higher level, he said, and provides patients of gynecological, urological and general surgeries with state-of-the art equipment that will make surgeries much easier. The da Vinci Surgical System is a computer-assisted robotic surgery unit that allows a surgeon to operate robotic arms which hold surgical tools such as scalpels and scissors. In the console are two eye holes for the surgeon to view a three-dimensional image of the operating area, made possible by a camera attached to one of the robotic arms on the unit. The console also contains two hand controllers in which the surgeon places his or her index fingers and thumbs. The movements of the surgeons hands in the console are replicated by the unit, with the ability for the robots miniature arms to rotate 360 degrees for optimal use. Brooke Childs of Malone was one of the three patients to undergo surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System. Using the system, Eltabbakh removed a large cyst on Childs left ovary and found a small cyst on her right ovary while performing the operation, which was also removed. The procedure was virtually painless, said Childs, with her being able to get back to her daily routine of caring for her three children in a matter of days. I woke up a little drowsy, but by the next morning I felt great, said Childs. Beth Chapman, also of Malone, found a similar outcome from her surgery. She underwent an operation to complete an abdominal hysterectomy first begun in April. Due to complications, the procedure couldnt be completed by traditional laparoscopic surgery, leaving Chapman in extreme pain. I woke up and I could just not believe the difference, said Chapman. I was able to go home and I was getting up and around the next day. I have not felt this good in months. CVPH is one of only 500 hospitals in the country to have such a unit, which itself is one of only 800 in the entire world, said hospital president and chief executive officer Stephens M. Mundy. The total cost of the unit was $1.6 million, which was funded mainly by money raised by the Foundation of CVPHs Vision of CVPH fundraising campaign. The remaining $500,000 came from money left over from the hospitals capital improvement project, which is operating under budget and ahead of schedule, said Mundy. The unit makes for an outstanding addition to the community, he added, and will be utilized by the hospitals new surgical unit, set to open Oct. 20. This is an example of our leading with technology but using our people to do it, said Mundy. We really feel like this type of equipment, with the staff we have, is a perfect fit. The robot will allow us to retain and recruit the best and the brightest physicians, said Dr. Diego Grinberg-Funes, a urologist with Urology Associates of Northeastern New York. It will allow patients to stay in the area without having to leave, without having to truck their families off to far-off places. Weve got great technology here, weve got great physicians, great staff, and I cant commend the administration and the CVPH community more. Grinberg-Funes predicted the robot will only be the first for CVPH, as the physicians will be vying for its use for future surgeries. We would love to be in a position where we needed to get a second robot, commented Michael J. Hildebran, CVPH director of marketing and public relations. Right now, that isnt our greatest problem, but it would be a great problem to have. An open house will be held at CVPH Medical Center in September, giving the public an opportunity to view the unit and see demonstrations.