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2005 Press Releases
Morton Plant Brings Robotic Technology to Surgery

Interactive da Vinci Robot to Transform Prostate Cancer Surgery

CLEARWATER, Fla., (July 5, 2005)- Less pain, less risk of infection and less time in the hospital are all benefits to patients with the newest technology being used at Morton Plant Hospital to treat cancer. Using advanced robotic technology, the da Vinci Surgical System is a minimally invasive way to remove a cancerous prostate gland.

"Technology, once thought to be a futuristic vision is changing the field of medicine, and is now providing the community with greater access to quality, innovative medical care," said M. Scott Klavans, M.D., Morton Plant Hospital urologist. "The robotic surgical system is becoming the standard in health care and Morton Plant is helping to lead the way." Dr. Klavans was the first Morton Plant physician to use the robotic technology during a prostatectomy, removal of the prostate gland on June 13.

The da Vinci system consists of a surgeon's console and binocular-like monitor that sits a few feet from the patient. The surgeon views three-dimensional images within the patient through a high-performance monitor while using hand controls to manipulate four interactive robotic arms. A camera at the end of one arm displays internal organs while the other arms maneuver surgical tools. Patient benefits include less pain, less blood loss and shorter recovery time. Typically the patient hospital stay for a normal prostatectomy, removal of the prostate gland, is three to four days compared to overnight using the da Vinci system.

"Traditional prostatectomy procedures are performed through large, open surgical incisions in the abdomen. The da Vinci Surgical System allows for the removal of a cancerous prostate gland by making just four small incisions in the patient, about an inch long, using robotic arms. The robot is an extension of the surgeon, allowing them to view a magnified image of internal organs and perform intricate cuts,"said Morton Plant urologist, Craig S. Barkley, M.D." Dr. Barkley is also using the system as an alternative to traditional prostate cancer surgery.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, behind lung cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 232,090 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2005.

Morton Plant Hospital is the only hospital in Pinellas County currently using the da Vinci system to treat prostate cancer. In 2004, 60 open prostatectomies were performed at Morton Plant. In July 2005, the hospital will begin using the robot in the treatment of gynecologic cancers. According to Hector Arango, M.D., Morton Plant gynecologic oncologist, "The da Vinci Surgical System will enable us to provide less invasive treatment of cancers including endometrial, cervical and early ovarian cancer." Morton Plant also is exploring the use of the robotic technology for other surgical applications including in the area of cardiology.

Other technological advancements Morton Plant has recently introduced to the community include:

* The only hospital in Tampa Bay currently providing revolutionary blood clot retrieval treatment for victims of stroke

* Minimally invasive, computer-navigated hip and knee replacement surgery

* A procedure that is part of open-heart surgery using band-aid size incisions to obtain leg veins necessary for cardiac by-pass

* The fastest computed tomography imaging (64-slice CT) available which provides three-dimensional detail in less than one-third of a second

Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care. In 2001, Morton Plant joined forces with H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, Tampa to provide research and services for cancer patients. Morton Plant Hospital has received numerous national recognitions for its quality of care including the Gold Seal of ApprovalTM for Primary Stroke Care from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and 100 Top Hospital Overall Quality of Care for five years. Morton Plant is one of only seven hospitals in the United States to be ranked in the100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success Study for six consecutive years. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla., 727-462-7000.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 468-7586 Pager