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Waupun science students get firsthand look at new robotic surgical technology

5:17 PM, Apr. 25, 2013  |  Comments
Madeline Keach, a seventh grade student with the Waupun Junior/Senior High School, is shown with Robert Santa-Cruz, MD, as he demonstrates how a new robotic surgical system at Agnesian HealthCare works. Keach was involved in helping to name the system, coming up with 'Ambidexter,' or 'Dex' for short.
Madeline Keach, a seventh grade student with the Waupun Junior/Senior High School, is shown with Robert Santa-Cruz, MD, as he demonstrates how a new robotic surgical system at Agnesian HealthCare works. Keach was involved in helping to name the system, coming up with 'Ambidexter,' or 'Dex' for short.
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Waupun Junior/Senior High School seventh grade science students got a firsthand look at the future of surgical technology as Robert Santa-Cruz, MD, a urologist with Agnesian HealthCare, showed the intricacies of robotic surgery.

A total of 150 science students ventured to Agnesian HealthCare to see the new da Vinci Surgical System, which offers the technology for surgeons to offer a minimally-invasive option for complex surgical procedures. With a decade of experience under his belt, Dr. Santa-Cruz has performed more procedures than any other robotic urologist in Wisconsin

"The present and future of robotics excites me," Dr. Santa-Cruz says. "In my experience, I find that patients benefit from a quicker recovery and can return more quickly to their normal activities. They also experience significantly less pain and bleeding."

The da Vinci system is used for surgical procedures in the abdomen, throat and chest. It gives a surgeon greater precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved access.

Waupun science students made the journey after participating in a naming suggestion idea contest, which was extended by Agnesian HealthCare to area middle school science classes. Madeline Keach approached her science teacher, Terra Backhaus, about creating names, and arrived at "Ambidexter," or "Dex" for short.

Entries were also submitted by Brandon Middle School, Lomira Middle School, St. Mary's School (Mayville), St. Mary's Springs Academy, Theisen Middle School and Woodworth Middle School.

"From talking with my teacher and using my science background, we recognized by the da Vinci robot's design that it resembles human hands and their movements," Madeline says. "When looking up the word dexterity on-line, I found that hand dexterity (fine motor skills) involve small muscles of the hands."

"In addition, I researched the word ambidextrous and found the definition 'the use of both hands with equal facility,'" Madeline adds. "Information on the da Vinci System web site states that the system 'seamlessly translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise real time movements of surgical instruments.' The word ambi- means both, and dexter - means favorable, therefore these words combine into a new meaning Ambidexter using both hands in a fluent motion."

Dr. Santa-Cruz is using this technology for urological procedures and brings expansive experience. In fact, he has already performed more than 1,000 cases encompassing seven different procedures. He is fellowship trained in laparoscopic urologic procedures and serves as an instructor to other surgeons.

"This new technology is the perfect opportunity to engage area seventh grade students in learning more about robotics and its benefits in healthcare," Dr. Santa-Cruz says.

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