It's the da Vinci robot, a tool for surgeons that's been used for years on prostate and gynecological surgery.
Now the University of Colorado Hospital is using this same robot in a new way - to treat tough to remove head and neck cancers. This means a quicker recovery for the patient. The University of Colorado Hospital has the only surgeon in the metro area currently performing this procedure.
"In the cases of cancers in the base of the tongue or oral cavity, it allows us to do very minimally invasive surgery through the mouth with very precise instrumentation allowing patients to have faster fuller recovery, less hospitalization and more importantly more precise surgical resection of these sites," Dr. John Song of the University of Colorado School of Medicine said.
That opportunity for a quick recovery is something the first patient to undergo the procedure in Colorado, Michael Smith, used to help drive his decision to let Song use the robot on him.
"Me and my wife making that decision it was a game changer for us because it offered the same results and possibly more accurate results with a lot less of the after effects and a very short hospital stay," Michael Smith said.
Michael still has to undergo radiation and chemo treatments which are standard with most head and neck cancers. But because of his quicker recovery due to the da Vinci Robot, he's looking forward to hitting the ski slopes next year.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)