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1,000 Robotic Procedures (and Counting!) by Lufkin General Surgeon

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For the 1,000th time, a Lufkin general surgeon delivered the highest level of minimally invasive care to a patient in need. Alan Bassin, M.D., with Angelina Surgical Associates, performed his 1,000th procedure using the da Vinci surgical robot at St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin, placing him in an elite group of surgeons across the country.

Patients who undergo robotic procedures, as opposed to open procedures, may experience reduced trauma to the body, reduced blood loss and need for transfusions, less post-operative pain and discomfort, less risk of infection, a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and return to normal daily activities, and less scarring.

The 1,000th procedure involved a 55-year-old man undergoing a hernia repair. Dr. Bassin said the patient had a prior hernia repaired through an open procedure.


Pictured from left to right: Tina McDonald, CRNA; Megan Walker, da Vinci representative; Stephen Harris, M.D.; Alan Bassin, M.D.; Ana Trevathan, RNFA,FNP-C; Raul Ramirez, CST; and Kimberley Youngblood, RN.

“We will be able to compare the two procedures directly and see how the patient feels regarding his recovery. We already know what the answer is going to be, but we’ll see what the patient has to say,” Dr. Bassin said. “When you’ve done that many robotic cases, it gives patients confidence that you have a good grasp on the technology. “Even [this] patient asked me how many cases I’ve done on the robot, and I was able to tell him that he’s number 1,000.”

Performing this landmark number of robotic cases in just six years is a remarkable achievement. Dr. Bassin is the 5th local surgeon to have accomplished this feat, including Urologist David Price, M.D., Gynecologist Kaywin Carter, M.D., Gynecologist Jerry Johnson, M.D. and General Surgeon Darry Meyer, D.O. Since the program’s inception in 2007, the hospital’s robotics teams have collectively performed nearly 5,000 surgical cases using the da Vinci robots. Together they are working toward St. Luke’s Health becoming a Center of Excellence in robotic surgery.

“In this facility, you’ve got multiple surgeons in multiple specialties who have all performed over 1,000 cases. I think that, in and of itself, should draw patients here. Becoming a Center of Excellence will let people know that we have surgeons here in Lufkin who have a considerably vast amount of experience,” Dr. Bassin said.

St. Luke’s Health purchased one of the first da Vinci surgical robots in the state of Texas in 2007. In 2016, the hospital acquired the most technologically advanced da Vinci Xi Robot, and is currently the only hospital in the area to boast two robots, offering surgeons and patients better access to superior technology.

“CHI St Luke Health-Memorial’s mission to provide exceptional healthcare to our family, friends and neighbors requires that we stay up-to-date with the latest medical technology,” said Monte Bostwick, President & CEO of St. Luke’s Health-Memorial. “By combining highly trained surgeons and staff with the best technology available, we are able to perform some of the most highly complicated procedures, making sure our patients can stay close to home for their healthcare needs.”

During a procedure, the surgeon controls every motion of the robotic arms which can rotate and move in any direction, extending the range of the surgeon’s expert touch while still using laparoscopic techniques. Unlike standard laparoscopy, in which surgeons operate through small incisions and are limited in how much they can angle or turn their instruments, the da Vinci system allows an experienced surgeon to have more freedom of motion to perform an operation within a small space in the body.

The da Vinci surgical system can be used across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures, including general surgery, gynecology and urology, and has been optimized for multi-quadrant use in general surgery. By enhancing surgical capabilities, the da Vinci Robotic System helps improve clinical outcomes and redefine standards of care.

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