A local surgeon is the first to use total robotic technology to perform both the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures in Tallahassee. Rodolfo Oviedo, MD, of Capital Regional Surgical Associates performed the complex surgeries at Capital Regional Medical Center. While Dr. Oviedo has completed many robotic assisted procedures including gallbladder, hernia repair and cancer surgery, this is a first for bariatric surgery in the area.

During a gastric bypass, the surgeon divides the stomach into a small upper section and larger lower section. The smaller section allows for approximately one ounce of capacity, reducing the amount of food a person can eat. The surgeon then connects a part of the small intestine to the small section of the stomach (called a pouch). When food is ingested, it goes from the pouch to this section of the small intestine for 'processing' without traveling through the entire intestine.

During a sleeve gastrectomy, the surgeon decreases the size of the stomach and surgical staples divide it vertically. The new stomach is the shape of a slim banana, while the rest is removed. It will now hold 10 percent of what a normal stomach can.

Dr. Oviedo views the ability to perform complex procedures such as the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy robotically as an enormous benefit to patients. "Very few surgeons are using robotics in bariatric procedures and most of those are done at major academic or tertiary institutions," said Dr. Oviedo. "While some surgeons still use an open (large incision) method, many of these surgeries are done laparoscopically now, but using robotic technology is even better for the patient," said Dr. Oviedo. "The robotic system is more precise, and dissection is much finer. The robot moves like a hand and offers a three-dimensional view of the surgical site." Typically robotic surgical patients experience a shorter length-of-stay, less pain and blood loss, and fewer complications.

Dr. Oviedo has worked with the highly trained staff at Capital Regional to hone the team's expertise in order to offer additional robotic procedures to patients locally. "Robotics requires a team approach and the OR staff at Capital Regional have worked diligently, and received specialized training and education to reach this level of proficiency," says Oviedo.