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Published on July 22, 2014


Surgery at Saint Mary's Hospital Is Even Better

Dr. Philip R. Corvo, MA, FACS, Saint Mary’s new Chairman of the Department of Surgery, is building on the hospital’s impressive track record of clinical quality and patient safety. He recently spoke with Thrive about the newest advances in robotic surgery including Firefly technology, available at Saint Mary’s.

Question: What attracted you to Saint Mary’s?

Dr. Corvo: Saint Mary’s is a leader in the things that interest me, including robotic-assisted surgery and patient safety and quality. The hospital was poised to take the next step. Coming here was a perfect opportunity.

Question: How is robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System enhancing surgical safety and quality at Saint Mary’s?

Dr. Corvo: Saint Mary’s has become a statewide leader in single-incision laparoscopic surgeries, which are procedures performed through one incision inside the belly button. Using da Vinci to perform those surgeries restores the surgeon’s three-dimensional vision that’s lacking during standard laparoscopic operations, and this leads to safer procedures, less pain, and swifter recoveries.

In addition, we now perform single-incision procedures using Firefly imaging for the da Vinci robot. This technology allows the surgeon to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Blood vessels are visible before they are encountered. Blood flow is assessed as the organs are operated on. Important structures in and around the liver can be better avoided during gallbladder surgery. Almost every surgery can be made safer and even more precise. It’s a game changer for abdominal surgery.

Question: What is your goal for the Department of Surgery?

Dr. Corvo: To ensure what we do is even safer than what was done before. Saint Mary’s spurred the creation of a statewide surgical safety collaborative that allows hospitals to share outcomes data and solutions to problems. We are part of the Connecticut Hospital Association’s statewide High Reliability Safety Collaborative. Our daily safety huddles allow department heads from across the hospital to talk about potential problems before the problems ever have a chance to impact patient safety. I collaborated with the chairman of the Department of Anesthesia to introduce a type of nerve block for abdominal surgery that eliminates the need for patients to take traditional narcotics for postoperative pain. Everything we do is to enhance Saint Mary’s reputation for delivering safe, patient-centered care.

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