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Backus Hospital Operating Room Marks 2 Milestones in 1 Day

March 03, 2022

It was a twofer on Tuesday, March 1, when Backus Hospital noted two milestones, the unveiling of its second da Vinci Xi robot and the 1,000th surgery using the technology by surgeon Dr. Sergio Casillas.

By Wednesday noon, Casillas had already added three to his da Vinci total. He started using the technology in the operating room in 2017. Backus is the only hospital in Eastern Connecticut offering patients the option of having minimally-invasive surgery using the da Vinci robotic technology from Intuitive Surgical. With  a second robot, the hospital will be able to significantly expand access for patients.

“There used to be challenges with scheduling with just the one robot,” Dr. Casillas said. “But now with two rooms outfitted with the technology, this greatly increases access for patients and surgeons. And all of this is beneficial to our patients, because the minimally invasive robotic surgery greatly reduces trauma to the body and allows the patient to recover faster.”

His 1,000th surgery was a colon resection, a surgery to treat colon cancer. The surgeon removes the cancerous part of the colon, then sews together the healthy ends.

Before robots, patients would spend about seven days in the hospital recovering from a colon resection, Casillas said. When laparoscopic methods were introduced, that time was reduced to three to five days. Today with robotic technology, “usually they go home the next day,” he said.

The da Vinci Xi robots are used by specially-trained Backus surgeons for procedures in:

  • Bariatrics: Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures.
  • Colorectal care: Patients with diverticulitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and colon or rectal cancer.
  • General surgery: Hernia repair, gallbladder removal, pancreatic cancer or acid reflux.
  • Gynecology: Hysterectomy, endometriosis resection and fibroid removal or to remedy pelvic prolapse.
  • Thoracics: A lobectomy for lung cancer.
  • Urology: Procedures for prostate, kidney or bladder cancers, or to address kidney disorders or urinary blockages.

The two robots have been dubbed Thelma and Louise. The staff in Periop services were invited to submit name ideas, and then the Robotic team selected the name. Thelma is the original  robot and Louse is the new robot.