DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) – SOVAH Health is unveiling a new robot that will help surgeons perform complex operations and possibly save patients some money.

“Now, we have patients traveling outside of our community to receive care via this technology,” said Steve Heatherly, SOVAH Health Market President. “So, people will be able to receive that high quality care close to home.”

SOVAH Health staff was invited to meet and test drive the new Da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgical System Monday.

The robot copies a surgeon’s hand movements during operations.

While the surgeon is still in full control, experts say the robot can perform minimally invasive procedures that allow for a quicker recovery and less post-op pain for patients.

“If you have a team that’s dedicated and knows the technology well, it can be very, very efficient,” said Zachary Ewart, General Surgeon. “You can actually find that your operative times can go down with the robotic platform. So, you’re in a way saving patients money by getting them out of the OR quicker and safer.”

The robot can be used to perform surgeries needed for hernias or colorectal cancer.

The camera lets surgeons see nerves in the body they couldn’t otherwise see with the naked eye.

“It also can lead to a more comfortable operation because sitting at the console, as opposed to standing at the bedside, can lead to less fatigue, which is another nice advantage in terms of the ergonomics,” added Ewart.

The president says this advancement and the current renovations to expand the hospital stem from the growing population the city is seeing.

“We want to be a good community partner with all of the growth that is happening in Danville. As employers are coming here, as new residents are moving into the community, we want them to do so with the full confidence that their local hospital is ready and able to take care of them,” said Heatherly.

There is an open house for the public Monday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The new robot will be installed and used for surgeries starting in May.

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