Da Vinci System treats through robotics

MASON CITY, Iowa – It’s the first of its kind in north Iowa, and urologists from the Mason City Clinic are hoping this new device can help cancer patients get back on their feet much sooner.

Back in 2013, Dr. Tim Mulholland of the Mason City Clinic broke the news to Gary Smith that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Fast forward a little over a year later, Smith is all smiles.

“He put me on the scale from one to ten and I was already a seven, so we didn’t have much time to monkey around. He got me right in. We talked about the robotic surgery. I thought that was probably the most extreme measure, but it was the most positive,” said Smith.

Using a breakthrough, new 3-D imaging device, Dr. Mulholland is now able to perform far less invasive surgeries to aid in prostate and kidney cancer treatment.

“We’re able to do things with smaller incisions, like take the prostate out, and be more precise through those small incisions than we were before,” said Mulholland.

It’s called the Da Vinci Robotic System, and is the only one of its kind in our area.

By manipulating these hand, and foot controls, physicians can bend and rotate to a far greater degree than the human wrist.

“It’s a major surgery, and if you can lessen those complications, and treat their cancer, they’re very happy about that,” said Mulholland.

“I was only in surgery for about four to five hours. I went in there at five in the morning. Five o’clock the next day, I was already home,” said Smith.

Years of development went into the final product which now cuts down on patient blood loss and speeds up recovery.

Gary says he knows that cancer has been in his family for the past two generations, and he hopes to encourage others to get screened before it’s too late.

“That’s what put me on the trail of taking care of myself, instead of thinking it always happens to the other guy, because it doesn’t,” said Smith.

Smith now suffers from very little pain, and even avoided having to take pain medication.

So far, the Mason City Clinic has performed more than 200 prostate and kidney cancer surgeries using the Da Vinci System.

About one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes.

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