Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Youngstown's High Technology: It's Not Just Software

The "da Vinci," a robot that is already changing how surgery is done in Youngstown, is only one of the ways that the city is changing from a manufacturing base into a high technology corridor. While high-tech companies like Turning Technology are leading the charge to make Youngstown a player in the software industry, we shouldn't discount the significance of St. Elizabeth Medical Center getting its own high tech robot that will change the way health care is delivered in the Valley.

The St. Elizabeth's Center for Robotic Surgery has been in operation since September of last year, and using the da Vinci have already performed 40 robotic prostatectomies (prostate surgery), 20 robotic hysterectomies, one robotic pyeloplasty (removal of a blockage in the ureter leading from one of the kidneys to the bladder), and one robotic cystectomy (removal of all or part of the urinary bladder).

What are the advantages of the da Vinci? The benefits to the patients are significant. Surgery times of six hours for a prostatectomy have been reduced to four hours and the goal for the program is eventually to do the surgeries in two hours. This leads to a reduction in blood loss to the point where a transfusion is unnecessary and less time in the hospital. Average stays are only 32 hours. Other advantages include reduced pain, less time on a catheter and less post-surgery narcotic use.

The St. Elizabeth's Center for Robotic Surgery staff includes Dr. Daniel Ricchiutti, his brother Dr. Vincent Ricchiutti and Dr. Mark Memo, all of N.E.O. Urology Associates. The doctors and the hospital hope that the center will become a regional referral center, and they hope that patients from the Mahoning Valley will stay here for their surgeries. Those that need hysterectomies or prostate surgery now have good reason to seriously consider that option.

Dr. Daniel Ricchiuti

Dr. Mark Memo

Dr. Vincent Ricchiuti