Bringing advanced technology close to home

Minimal scarring, less pain, faster recovery, shorter hospital stays


Methodist Hospital | South brings its all new robotic-assisted technology as an alternative to traditional methods of minimally invasive surgery for Atascosa County citizens. The robot itself is a tool that enhances minimally invasive approaches to various surgical procedures, providing multiple benefits ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. LAUREN MCCORMICK | METHODIST HOSPITAL | SOUTH

Methodist Hospital | South brings its all new robotic-assisted technology as an alternative to traditional methods of minimally invasive surgery for Atascosa County citizens. The robot itself is a tool that enhances minimally invasive approaches to various surgical procedures, providing multiple benefits ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. LAUREN MCCORMICK | METHODIST HOSPITAL | SOUTH

These are just a few benefits brought to the patients of Atascosa County as Methodist Hospital | South introduces advanced options for minimallyinvasive procedures.

Atascosa County residents now have the option of advanced roboticassisted technology as an alternative to traditional methods of minimally-invasive surgery—right here in Jourdanton at Methodist Hospital | South. The hospital is making moves to bring the latest in advancements for surgical care and technology to the community as Atascosa County continues to grow.

“Methodist Healthcare System has owned our hospital for over four years, and thanks to our partnership with the system, we’re able to continuously grow with our community. Now, we’re able to offer robotic-assisted technology as an option for surgical care. Patients can get the advanced care right here and no longer have to drive to San Antonio for these types of services,” said Greg Seiler, CEO of Methodist Hospital | South.

The robot itself is a tool that enhances minimallyinvasive approaches to various surgical procedures, providing multiple benefits ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. A trained surgeon uses the robotic technology as an instrument in the operating room, leveraging the 3D high-definition views for a crystal-clear view of the surgical area that is magnified 10-times to what the human eye sees. Surgeons use tiny instruments that move like a human hand, but with a far greater range of motion, allowing for more precision, flexibility and control—even in more complex cases.

Dr. John Paek, general surgeon, performs a procedure with the new robotic-assisted technology at Methodist Hospital | South. Surgeons control the robot with foot pedals and hand controls. Dr. Paek is one of three new, highly-qualified surgeons the hospital has attracted with the new robot. LAUREN MCCORMICK | METHODIST HOSPITAL | SOUTH

Dr. John Paek, general surgeon, performs a procedure with the new robotic-assisted technology at Methodist Hospital | South. Surgeons control the robot with foot pedals and hand controls. Dr. Paek is one of three new, highly-qualified surgeons the hospital has attracted with the new robot. LAUREN MCCORMICK | METHODIST HOSPITAL | SOUTH

Tonja Thigpen, CNO of Methodist Hospital | South, explained the many benefits patients could expect to experience when undergoing a minimally-invasive procedure using roboticassisted technology. These include more precise surgery, significantly less pain, less risk of infection and blood loss, early discharge from the hospital, less scarring and a potentially shorter recovery. As with any procedure, individual results may vary.

“Our patients want to get back to whatever they were doing before surgery,” said Thigpen. “That’s our goal. The biggest benefit is better outcomes for a patient.”

For a surgeon, Thigpen explained that robotic-assisted technology enhances the visual field, improves dexterity for hard-to-reach areas, provides precision during a procedure—ultimately leading to better outcomes. The arms on the robot can rotate 360°, making it unique so that surgeons will not exhaust their energy.

Minimally-Invasive experts at Methodist Hospital | South

In addition to the newly-acquired technology, Methodist Hospital | South welcomes new, highly-qualified surgeons to their hospital to utilize this robot, including two new general surgeons and one gynecological surgeon.

The new surgeons include general surgeons Dr. John Paek and Dr. Rex L. Farrer and GYN surgeon Dr. Abraham A. Alecozay, who have all completed fellowships in robotic surgery.

“The expertise of these physicians is critical to providing exceptional care and successful outcomes through roboticassisted surgeries,” said Seiler. “We welcome these new surgeons to Methodist Hospital | South and are very fortunate to have grown our medical staff to continue serving our community members.”

Seiler also explained that their current staff and surgeons could be trained on the robotic system through fellowships.

“It is essential for our staff to be highly-trained in using the robot to ensure our patients receive the best experience and outcome. It is our No. 1 priority,” said Seiler. “Thanks to our affiliation with Methodist Healthcare System, our staff can go to our sister facility in San Antonio, Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan, to receive training on the robot. Additionally, our surgeons have had extensive training; they know what to do and how to use the equipment.”

Surgeries now available

Previously, Seiler explained there was a limit to the type of surgeries available at Methodist Hospital | South.

“Now that we have this new technology, the breadth and scope of surgeries we can provide has expanded,” said Seiler.

The first roboticassisted surgery took place on Sept. 22, which was a ventral hernia—a hernia that occurs at any location along the midline (vertical center) of the abdomen wall. Since then, Methodist Hospital | South has performed five cases with the new robot. They have also completed two gallbladder removals, one colostomy takedown and two appendix removals.

Other surgeries that the hospital can offer with this minimallyinvasive technology include inguinal hernia repairs, ventral hernia repairs, appendix removals, gallbladder surgeries and colorectal surgeries for patients with colon or rectal conditions, and gynecological surgeries for patients requiring a hysterectomy.

Growing together

Bringing this new technology to Atascosa County is just one example of the continued growth that Methodist Hospital | South aims for to continuously serve our community.

“We are growing with you and growing for you,” said Thigpen. “As we’re growing with the community to meet their needs, we’re growing for you, providing care options that keep you close to home.”

See the Nov. 10 issue of the Pleasanton Express for a story about other new and exciting things happening at Methodist Hospital | South.

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