Cleveland Clinic is the first medical center in the United States to have performed a minimally invasive gastric sleeve procedure using a recently FDA-approved surgery robot with magnetic technology.
Gastric sleeve surgery, also called sleeve gastrectomy, is one of the most common bariatric surgery procedures. It removes a large portion of the stomach, leaving behind a narrow “sleeve.”
Matthew Kroh, M.D., section head of surgical endoscopy and vice chair of innovation and technology with Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease Institute, led the team that successfully performed the operation in September. Following the procedure to treat obesity, the patient is doing well.
“Advances in robotic technology allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery with less incisions,” said Dr. Kroh. “As a result, patients experience less pain, fewer scars and a quicker recovery.”
The combination of magnetic technology with a surgery robot enhances minimally invasive surgery and provides benefits for patients and surgeons.
Reflecting on the first case using a surgical robot with magnetic technology, Dr. Kroh highlighted the use of one of the robotic arms fitted with a surgical camera. “It is an advantage for the surgeon to control the robotic arm with the camera to view inside the body and visualize the tissues and organs during the surgery. Without the robot, the surgical camera would be fitted on a thin rod, and I would communicate with an assistant to ask for the camera to be moved.”
With the use of magnetic technology, surgeons can use the magnet to gently manipulate tissue and organs as needed depending on the surgery.
For the first case, Dr. Kroh and lead surgeon Andrew Strong, M.D., used the magnetic technology to gently move the liver to see the stomach while the abdominal procedure was performed laparoscopically. Without the magnetic technology, an additional incision would have been needed so that a surgical assistant could hold the liver in place during the surgery using a laparoscopic instrument.
Dr. Kroh said that with fewer incisions, patients experience less pain and scarring. “In addition, research shows that there may be faster recovery by using magnetic technology to hold the liver in place during a procedure instead of using a surgical instrument,” said Dr. Kroh.
Prior to the FDA approval of the magnetic-assisted surgical robot, Dr. Kroh and colleagues observed the use of that platform on cases done internationally. The research paper, published in Annals of Surgery Open, concluded that the robotic platform brings the benefits of magnetic surgery by reducing incisions and provides full-camera control for the surgeon.
“Robotic technologies will increasingly incorporate more advanced imaging and navigation systems to allow us to do operations more effectively and safely,” said Dr. Kroh.
In August 2023, the magnetic-assisted robotic surgery platform was FDA-approved for abdominal surgeries, including gallbladder removal and bariatric surgery.
Since the first case at Cleveland Clinic in September, Dr. Kroh and his team have successfully performed additional procedures using the robotic platform, including a gastric bypass procedure.