Robotic-assisted surgery program comes to Georgetown hospital

Tidelands Georgetown Hospital performed its first robotic-assisted surgery last week.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:12 AM EST
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - A new pair of hands are helping doctors perform surgery at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital.

Doctors are now using robotic-assisted arms during laparoscopic procedures that include hernia, colon, gallbladder, urological and gynecological operations and even hysterectomies.

Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital says robotic-assisted surgery is now preferred by patients over traditional surgery based on its many benefits, which include lower pain levels and faster recovery times.

Tidelands Georgetown Hospital staff performed the hospital’s first robotic-assisted surgery last week. The hospital said after seeing the success rate of the state-of-the-art robot at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet, they wanted their own.

Surgeons trained in the robotic surgery procedure control the robotic arms from a computer console that uses a high-definition 3D camera. The camera can magnify the inside of the patient’s body and shows the surgeon a much more detailed look that is not visible to the human eye.

Tidelands Health General Surgeon Dr. Mark Witkowski said he has been performing robotic-assisted surgery for over a year now at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. He said he has seen patients heal faster and have lower pain levels after surgery because of the robot’s smaller and more precise incisions.

“It’s just allowed us to take minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to the next progression. It’s allowed us to do more advanced procedures, smaller incisions and ultimately its really benefitted patients for the recovery after surgery,” Witkowski said.

Witkowski also said there is a misconception that the robot is the one doing the procedure. He said surgeons have full control and the robots serve as a system helping do the surgery, by controlling the instruments for surgeons that would not be possible with straight-edge instruments.

Witkowski said Tidelands Health chose their Georgetown hospital location for the assisted robotic-surgery program to expand its footprint and make access available to more people.