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ROBOTIC SURGERY BENEFITS LIVING KIDNEY DONORS AND RECIPIENTS

BY PAM MCGRATH
IMAGE COURTESY OF BARNES-JEWISH HOSPITAL

When used to perform living-donor nephrectomy—the removal of a kidney from a living donor for transplantation into a recipient—a robotic surgery system offers a number of benefits. For example, the donor’s stay in the hospital may be shortened and recovery may happen more quickly.

Robotics Nephrectomy
THE USE OF ROBOTICS OFFERS ADDITIONAL PRECISION IN LIVING KIDNEY-DONOR AND KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION SURGERIES.

Though many such donation surgeries already are being done using a minimally invasive procedure that offers living donors similar benefits, the robotic procedure allows for additional improvements.

Use of a robotic system for nephrectomy isn’t new. “Robotic nephrectomy has already been proven highly effective in both partial and radical, or complete, removal of kidneys due to cancer,” says Adeel Khan, MD, MPH, transplant surgeon at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center. “The robotic system offers a three-dimensional view of the surgical field that is magnified up to 15 times greater than the human eye. And the system’s instruments, which are under the surgeon’s command, offer the precision needed to remove a tumor while preserving healthy parts of the kidney.”

This precision is what makes robotic surgery an excellent option for some living kidney donors and for transplant recipients. Jason Wellen, MD, MBA, Washington University transplant surgeon at the Transplant Center, explains why that’s true.

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PENCIL BEAM PROTON THERAPY DELIVERS PRECISION

PENCIL BEAM PROTON THERAPY DELIVERS PRECISION

BY JEN MILLER

While radiation is a key part of therapy for 70% of people treated for cancer, its side effects can be significant. That doesn’t mean radiation shouldn’t be used; it is an effective treatment. But making radiation more targeted can mitigate side effects. That’s where pencil beam proton therapy comes in.


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AORTIC STENOSIS: TREATMENT UPDATE

AORTIC STENOSIS: TREATMENT UPDATE

color: #666; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-width: 1px">BY PAM MCGRATH

In the past two decades or so, minimally invasive surgery has become widely used for many operations: gallbladder removal, appendix removal and hernia repair, just to name a few. The benefits of several small incisions versus a large, single one are well documented: reduced pain, faster recovery, fewer complications. Some heart surgeries, too, have gone the way of minimally invasive surgery, making standard open-heart surgery one option among several instead of the only option available.

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LIFE-CHANGING TREATMENT FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS

LIFE-CHANGING TREATMENT FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS

BY CAROLINE ARBANAS

A triple-drug cocktail, called Trikafta, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 2019 and is the first therapy shown to dramatically improve lung function in most people with cystic fibrosis, a condition that often can be fatal.

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ROBOTICS IMPROVES MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SURGERY

ROBOTICS IMPROVES MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SURGERY

BY PAM MCGRATH

In the recent past, people needing spine surgery underwent traditional open procedures, meaning neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons made a five-to-six-inch-long incision in the back that allowed access to the relevant area. Although this method allowed the surgeon to easily view the spine, it also involved retracting muscle and surrounding soft tissue. The invasive nature of such procedures meant patients often remained in the hospital for a week after surgery, and total recovery sometimes took months.

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NEW TREATMENT FOR BRAIN ANEURYSM

NEW TREATMENT FOR BRAIN ANEURYSM

BY HOLLY EDMISTON

An aneurysm is an enlargement of arteries caused by a weakening of the artery wall. It can be especially dangerous if located in the brain, where a rupture can cause bleeding that is neurologically devastating. To date, standard treatment for a brain aneurysm includes, among other strategies, medication to control blood pressure, as well as various surgical interventions that essentially seal off the aneurysm as a way to help prevent rupture.

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CARDIOLOGY REPORT: LITTLE DEVICE, BIG IMPACT

CARDIOLOGY REPORT: LITTLE DEVICE, BIG IMPACT

BY KRISTIN BAIRD RATTINI

Severe heart failure affects more than 2 million people in the United States, making even simple tasks—climbing stairs, taking a walk—extremely difficult. Medications can help ease symptoms but they don’t alter the course of this fatal disease.

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