Wilmington Health surgeons perform robotic-assisted surgeries at Novant Health NHRMC

The first of its kind in southeastern North Carolina, doctors in the Wilmington area are...
The first of its kind in southeastern North Carolina, doctors in the Wilmington area are implementing advancements for certain surgeries — like a robotic-assisted gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery.(WECT)
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 9:08 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The first of its kind in southeastern North Carolina, doctors in the Wilmington area are implementing advancements for certain surgeries — like a robotic-assisted gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery.

Dr. Jayme Stokes of Wilmington Health has become the first surgeon to perform a robotic-assisted sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery at Novant New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The first to perform a TAMIS surgery via robotics was Dr. Gentry Caton, surgery department division chief at Wilmington Health, in 2021.

“As the hospital continues to provide more access, we will be able to perform robotic surgery in an urgent and emergent basis. So not only are we talking about patients who can have a very large surgery done with with small incisions, but we’re talking about patients who are coming into the ER who can have surgeries performed that are typically done with very large incisions and long stays in the hospital. And when appropriately applied, these patients can do very well and have fewer complications,” Dr. Gentry Caton said.

Robotic surgery offers many benefits that allow surgeons to provide better care for patients. The surgeon can see tissues at a level of detail not previously available with optics that provide ten times more magnification and more precisely perform the technical parts of the operation with each instrument.

“So, we’ve been doing robotics for years, and the advances in Robotics has continued to allow physicians to perform more and more complex procedures that allow patients to return to their normal activity more quickly, have less pain, have less bleeding. And this is gonna continue to revolutionize how we take care of our patients in the future,” Caton said.

Those surgeries include colectomy, cholecystectomy, hernia repair, and trans anal minimally invasive removal of rectal lesions or TAMIS.

Rather than cancel operations that required patients to stay overnight during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Stokes incorporates the robotic technology into his practice in order to perform these surgeries.

“With the benefits of the robot, we are currently the only bariatric program in the region to offer patients the opportunity for same-day discharge after their bariatric operation,” Dr. Stokes said.

Stokes offers robotic surgery for bariatric procedures such as the sleeve gastrectomy or the gastric bypass, management of adjustable gastric bands, procedures for the treatment of heartburn and reflux, operations for removing the gallbladder, and operations for the repair of hernias in the groin or other parts of the abdominal wall.

“Because robotic surgery tends to cause less trauma to a patient’s tissues, the postoperative pain is significantly less than open surgery or traditional laparoscopic surgery. Therefore, patients typically require fewer prescription pain medications, and they experience a quicker return to normal activities following surgery. Some surgeries that previously required inpatient stay in the hospital can now be performed on an outpatient basis, allowing the patient to recover in the comfort of their home,” Stokes said.

To view the list of services provided at the The Wilmington Health Bariatric Surgery Department at 1202 Medical Center Drive location in Wilmington, visit here. You can also book an appointment or to learn more here.