Robots Invade Hospital: Surgical tech open house at Los Robles


Alex Steinhauer

The da Vinci surgical system, above, on display at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks.

Alex Steinhauer, Reporter

On Sept. 25, Los Robles Regional Medical Center hosted an open house for members of the public to witness surgical robots in action.

Dr. Pam Geyer, director of orthopedic and robotic surgery service lines, said these robots were created to help further advance the surgical industry.

“All of the robots operate a little differently,” Geyer said.

There were three robots showcased at the open house a da Vinci Surgical System, the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology and Auris Health Monarch Platform. Geyer said Mako and the da Vinci have been used for over 2,000 robotic surgical procedures.

The da Vinci is the oldest surgical robot at Los Robles. It has been used by general, urological, thoracic and gynecologic/oncology surgeons. Geyer said the Los Robles Regional Medical Center has used da Vinci for over seven years. The da Vinci has performed over 1,600 procedures, with 200 of those procedures done in the last 12 months alone.

“I wanted to have a precision instrument that I can do procedures on so I am not making mistakes and I am not accidentally hitting a nerve or vessel,” Jason Koehler said, clinical sales representative at Intuitive Surgical, which produces the da Vinci.

Mako was introduced to the hospital last year. Mako has the ability to map the knee joint and digitize the knee, Dr. Gregory Tchejeyan, an orthopedic surgeon, said. The current Mako system offers partial knee, total hip and total knee applications according to Stryker’s website, a medical devices and equipment manufacturing company.

Monarch is the newest robot, and will be introduced to the hospital within the next few months.

“We’re really one of the first 20 [hospitals] to buy it across the country,”  Geyer said.

Geyer said in 2018  the robot was FDA cleared. Territory Sales Manager at Auris Health Inc. Kevin Murrey said that over a thousand procedures have already been performed with this technology.

Monarch provides stability and flexibility to diagnose lung conditions. This robot also enables physicians to diagnose lung nodules that are hard to reach which may impact lung cancer survival rates. 

The open house gave the public a chance to witness how these robots function to help patients, including hands on activities.

“I thought it would be interesting for [my son] to see these robots in action” said local resident Gopal Sapparapu.

Soon, all three of the surgical robots will be in operation at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center.