Newswise — (Baltimore, MD) -- Dwight D. Im, M.D., FACOG, Director of The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy and The National Institute of Robotic Surgery at Mercy in Baltimore, became the first surgeon in the world to successfully perform a minimally-invasive hysterectomy via robotic surgery using the new Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver, developed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG).

The Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for use in single-incision surgery in late September 2014. This latest addition to the Single-Site suite of instruments – the first fully articulating robotic single-port surgical device -- has been cleared for use with the da Vinci Si Surgical System for minimally invasive removal of the uterus (hysterectomy), the ovaries and fallopian tubes for benign conditions, as well as gallbladder removal.

According to Dr. Im, who participated in the user testing that led to FDA clearance, the Single-Site instrumentation represents “a truly remarkable engineering achievement. A flexible instrument with a wristed tip, it provides surgical precision and aids in suturing after removal of the uterus,” he said.

Dr. Im explained that the 5mm wristed needled driver allows the surgeon to move the instrument tip up to 45 degrees in all directions for precise needle positioning.“The instrument’s serrated jaws make needle handling easy. For surgeons and patients seeking a minimally invasive option, to perform through a single incision what traditionally have been major open surgeries, this is transformative technology,” Dr. Im said. Dr. Im has been the busiest Gynecology/Gynecologic Oncology robotic surgeon in the nation for the past four years, performing thousands of surgeries.

“This single-site technology results in nearly scar-less surgeries, there’s less pain for the patient and a faster recovery time. (we might say instead, …scar-less surgeries, and patients experience little pain and a fast recovery time) As a surgeon, I gain the benefits of robotics and computer assistance, and the new wristed needle driver makes suturing faster and easy,” Dr. Im explained.

In July 2009, the first da Vinci Surgical Robotic System became operational at Mercy. In June 2011, Mercy acquired a second da Vinci unit with dual console that allows two surgeons to view the same 3-D image of surgery, which is ideal for training. During this period Dr. Im has provided robotic surgical training to physicians who traveled to Mercy from across the country and the world, to learn advanced gynecologic oncology surgical techniques using the da Vinci robot.

“Combining the da Vinci robot with single-site instrumentation offers the surgeon greater control, stability, precision, 3D-HD visualization, and the ability to perform surgery from an ergonomic seated precision, thus minimizing surgeon fatigue. The wristed driver is now the latest development in the ongoing evolution of robotic surgery,” Dr. Im said. Benefits of robotic surgery include pinpoint accuracy, the potential for faster healing, less blood loss and scarring, and reduced need for wound management after the surgery. A top women’s cancer expert and gynecologic robotic surgeon, Dr. Im specializes in diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers including ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers. He has traveled internationally, most recently to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, to instruct surgeons in the latest robotic surgical techniques. Dr. Im was the first surgeon to be named a "Gynecologic Oncology Epicenter Surgeon" for the da Vinci robot.Mercy's National Institute of Robotic Surgery offers surgical procedures performed by physician experts in multiple specialties and sub-specialties, including Urology, General Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology.

Founded in 1874 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. For more information on Mercy, Dr. Dwight Im, and robotic surgery at Mercy, visit or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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