Stanford Healthcare – ValleyCare has long been working with local doctors to provide state-of-the-art care to patients across the East Bay.
From robots that assist in surgery and shorten recovery time to innovative devices to treat intractable hernia-related back pain, Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare also uses advanced technology to bring the best care closer to home.
Below is an introduction to these and other new technologies that provide patients with high-quality orthopedics, cancer, and stroke care, as well as a preview of the changes that the outpatient surgery center will make to expand and improve its services.
Da Vinci Surgical System
With the help of the Da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons can perform complex operations while making only small incisions to minimize pain, bleeding and recovery time. In one of Stanford Healthcare-ValleyCare’s first surgeries using the system, doctors removed a woman’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes to treat her endometrial cancer.
The woman said that three days after the operation she felt “very well” and “recovered very quickly.”
How does this work: Two surgeons work together during the operation: one controls the robotic arm to perform the operation, while the other stays at the bedside of the patient.
The first surgeon manipulated his arm, which was equipped with a small camera, surgical tools and other precision instruments. When the surgeon is working, the camera will display a 3D image of the surgical site on the monitor. The surgeon looks at these images to help guide the arm and tools to the surgical site and perform the operation. The doctor at the bedside closely observes the patient during the operation.
“Through the support of the ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, we are able to make this major investment to strengthen the care we provide to the community and enable our patients to recover faster, reduce pain and return to daily activities earlier,” said Rick Shumway, President and CEO of Stanford Healthcare Corporation-ValleyCare.
Re-hernia prevention and repair
More than ten years ago, Stanford Medical Plastic Surgery Professor Eugene Carragee, MD, began to study why 5% to 20% of patients undergoing surgery to repair herniated discs have recurrence of pain.
Disc herniation occurs when the soft inner tissue of a person’s intervertebral disc pierces the tough outer layer, squeezing the nerve and causing pain. Although the operation called discectomy is usually simple and successful, research led by Carragee shows that the possibility of re-protrusion is related to the size of the damage or hole caused by the original hernia. Now, during a brief surgical procedure, the doctor will use a closure device to block the hole and prevent the hernia from recurring. Stanford Healthcare – ValleyCare is the first company in California to use this device.
How does this work: The device is called Barricaid and is made of a woven mesh, connected to a titanium anchor implanted in the bone. The mesh blocks the opening formed in the outer layer of the spinal cord, where the soft tissues squeeze out and squeeze the nerves.
Knee replacement robot
In January of this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new robotic device that can help perform total knee arthroplasty, a delicate operation that requires a lot of recovery time. The device allows doctors to customize the placement of knee replacement prostheses to suit each patient’s anatomy and reduce damage to nearby soft tissues, thereby reducing pain and possibly shortening recovery time.
“It is no longer a one size fits all,” said Aaron Salyapongse, MD, Stanford Medical Plastic Surgery Clinical Associate Professor and Stanford Healthcare-ValleyCare Joint Replacement Medical Director. The hospital’s doctors, nurses and surgical staff are being trained to use the equipment, and the first operation is scheduled for early October.
How does this work: During the operation, a desktop robotic device called the VELYS robotic-assisted solution will record the patient’s knee, scan it continuously and send the image to the monitor so that the surgeon can analyze the position of the joint. The machine is equipped with a tool that allows doctors to accurately execute customized surgical plans.
“Our goal is to provide each patient with the best surgery and the best knee replacement surgery,” Salyapongse said. “With this device, we have added a new data layer that gives us this ability.”
Advanced outpatient care is coming
In the spring of 2022, Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare will open its Livermore outpatient surgery center under a new license, allowing advanced outpatient surgery in a non-hospital environment. This change aims to simplify operations, provide professional services and improve outpatient care.
The outpatient surgery center operates on the Livermore campus of Stanford Healthcare-ValleyCare.
Among other services, doctors at the center will perform orthopedic surgeries, such as total hip and knee replacements, as well as eye and gastrointestinal surgeries, such as colonoscopy.
To support procedures previously offered only in hospital settings, Stanford Healthcare-ValleyCare is improving aseptic processing in outpatient facilities and is purchasing new operating room lights, tables, and surgical instruments.
Stanford Healthcare-ValleyCare Chief Financial Officer Kyle Wichelmann said: “The change in licensing for a standalone facility gives us the opportunity to expand the programs available in Livermore and allows us to streamline operations and clinical efficiency. “In the end, this will provide patients with better care at a more affordable cost.”