SMMC Hits 2,000 Robotic Surgeries in February

March 28, 2013 — On Wednesday, February 27, the Shull Institute for Surgical Robotics at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) performed its 2,000th robotic surgery. The procedure was a robotic cholecystectomy, which is the removal of the gallbladder. Scott Ellison, MD, performed the surgery.

SMMC was the first hospital in a five-state area to begin using the da Vinci® surgical robot in 2002. The da Vinci is used for a variety of procedures at SMMC including urology, kidney, thoracic, single and multi-site general surgery, as well as gynecologic surgeries including myomectomies.

“I am honored to be a part of the longest-standing robotic surgical program in the area. Since the inception of the program more than 10 years ago, Shawnee Mission Medical Center has accomplished several firsts in the city, as well as the region,” said David Emmott, MD, Medical Director of the Shull Institute for Surgical Robotics. “We are pleased to have provided this state-of-the-art technology to our patients and the community for more than a decade.”

In 2011, SMMC was the first hospital in the region, and one of 34 in the nation, to acquire the Firefly™ technology. The real-time fluorescence imaging technology allows surgeons to see and assess blood supply, further enhancing the unmatched vision, precision and control of surgical robotics. Firefly is especially instrumental in the treatment of renal tumors.

SMMC is also home to the first Single Site™ surgery in Johnson County, a type of minimally invasive surgery entirely performed through the patient’s navel. Currently offered for general surgery, like gallbladder removal, it offers the same benefits as other robotic procedures, including less pain and faster recovery time. However, due to the uniqueness of this surgery requiring only one incision, Single Site surgery offers patients the additional advantage of essentially scar-free surgery.

Additionally, SMMC performed the first robotic urological surgery in a five-state area, first hysterectomy in the Kansas City metro and first partial nephrectomy in Johnson County.

About Robotic Surgery
The surgical robot uses a minimally invasive technique, which entails smaller incisions and less tissue damage compared to traditional surgery. Surgeons are able to perform major surgeries through dime-sized incisions, which require only one or two stitches to close. As a result, patients can return to their normal activities in as early as one to two weeks and are at lower risk of developing infection.

Using sophisticated techniques and specialized tools such as miniature cameras and high definition monitors, surgeons in many specialties can perform major surgeries with the most accuracy possible.

“If there is one word that summarizes surgical robotics, it is precision,” Emmott said. “With increased visibility, better instruments and a highly-trained team, we can do a better job with minimal disturbance to the rest of the body. The robotic instrumentation and our team's experience have improved our surgical outcomes immensely.”

Although robotic instruments play a significant role in surgical procedures, it’s highly-trained physicians who perform the surgery. The surgeon’s skill, complemented by the robot’s precision, offer benefits to patients undergoing surgery in a variety of specialties.

Robotic surgery is not ideal for everyone. Patients are encouraged to discuss a treatment plan with their physician to determine the best option.

For more information about SMMC’s robotic surgery program, visit You can also view the webcast library featuring several robotic procedures at

View article on the Shawnee Mission Medical Center website.

©2013 Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

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