HealthONE - November 01, 2020


This month, the Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish Medical Center performed its 6,000th surgery. Since the program’s inception in 2005, the robotics team at Swedish has continually sought out and mastered the latest in surgical innovation, expanding its offering of robot-assisted surgeries to those with medical needs in cardiology, general and specialized foregut, gynecology and gynecologic oncology, head and neck, spine, thoracic and urology. During the last two years, Swedish has seen a 187% growth in surgical robotics volume, earning the program recognition as the fastest growing surgical robotic institute in the Rocky Mountain Region. The Surgical Robotics Institute now has exceeded the 6,000 surgeries milestone and is changing the lives of patients every day.

“As technology advances, we are learning new and better ways to perform all types of surgeries using technology and techniques that lessen the impact of the procedure on the body,” explained Karl Leistikow, Swedish Medical Center chief operating officer. “This often means a more rapid return to activity, which is great news for patients—especially those who enjoy staying as active as many Coloradoans do!”

Robot & Human Collaboration

Robotic surgery brings together the agility of a robot and the touch of a human to provide unparalleled precision. Using advanced robotic technology, the team of board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons at Swedish see more clearly, move with greater dexterity, and maintain superior control during surgery than ever previously possible. [WATCH: Spine surgeon Dr. Peter Syre explains how the robot’s advanced planning and guidance has changed spinal surgery.]

Robotic-assisted surgery is not just an exciting technological advancement, it also profoundly improves patient outcomes and experience. Robotic surgery patients often have:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss and transfusions during surgery
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activity

“Surgery no longer has to mean a lengthy recovery and big scars to show for it,” Leistikow said. “More and more our patients are able to get their surgical needs taken care of sooner and with less disruption to their lives due to these robotic advancements.”

Swedish Pioneers Robotics in Region

The Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish has been a trailblazer in the region since it began. It was one of the first hospitals in the region to perform robotic surgery for gynecologic oncology and was the first in Colorado to offer robot-assisted bronchoscopy, a procedure that has revolutionized lung cancer diagnosis.

“We understand that this advanced technology must be partnered with advanced care from highly experienced providers. That’s why our multiple robotic surgery platforms are operated by highly specialized surgeons. These surgeons are supported by specially trained anesthesia providers, technicians and nursing staff,” Leistikow said. “In addition, we provide a fully dedicated surgical robotics unit that is equipped with the latest advanced monitoring equipment to ensure our patients are given the best environment to heal and recover.”

Swedish Celebrates the Lives Changed through Robotic Surgery

While advancements in technology are exciting, the team at Swedish is motivated by the stories of the patients who have their lives changed by their robot-assisted surgeries. A few of the patients at Swedish have been generous enough to share their stories:

A mountain bike fanatic, Jim needed a hernia repair so he could stay healthy enough to keep riding. He sought out the help of The Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish, and the rest is history. Watch Jim's story.

Wyoming pastor and grandfather to nine, Dale Fitzsimmons was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was able to undergo a robotic prostatectomy at The Surgical Robotics Institute that allowed him to spend less than 24 hours in the hospital. Watch Dale’s story.

SWAT officer Matthew Canino often experienced a racing heart while exercising and cardiologists soon discovered a leaking heart valve. A visit to The Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish allowed him to have the required heart surgery without cutting into any bone and Matthew reported zero pain by the third day after surgery. Watch Matthew’s story.

“We are honored that 6,000 people have chosen to have their surgeries performed at the Surgical Robotics Institute,” Leistikow stated. “We look forward to the continued advancement of this field and to providing the most effective, efficient and safe care available.”

Learn more about The Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish Medical Center.