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Advanced Robotics Institute

Our team at the Advanced Robotics Institute are leaders in the field of robotic-assisted surgery. Located inside Baton Rouge General’s Pennington Cancer Center, we give patients treatment options that can get them back to their best self.

The Advanced Robotics Institute has a dual focus: general surgery, including gallbladder and hernia repairs, and specialized surgical care for cancer, complex hernia cases and conditions affecting the “foregut,” which, put simply, means the esophagus and stomach.

A physician referral for most complex robotic-assisted surgeries is required to schedule an appointment. Call (225) 333-3800 for more information.

General Surgery

Gallbladder removal and hernia repairs are some of the most common general surgical procedures. Removal of the gallbladder is a treatment option for various conditions, like gallstones, gallbladder inflammation or infection, and gall bladder cancer.

Our team is skilled at performing robotic-assisted surgery for various types of hernias. A hernia occurs when an organ or other structure protrudes through a weak area in the tissue or muscle. They can bulge into the chest, thigh, groin, or belly button and cause a visible lump. During a hernia repair, surgeons put the protruding organ back in place, then fix the weakened area of muscle or tissue.

  • Inguinal hernia - part of the intestine or fat bulges through the lower stomach wall. They usually occur on the right side and are much more common in men.
  • Umbilical hernia - part of the intestine bulges through the opening in the abdominal muscles near the belly button
  • Ventral hernia - any hernia type that occurs along the midline of the stomach

Surgical Oncology

Our highly skilled surgeons harness the most advanced robotic technology to create better outcomes for our cancer patients. They perform robotic-assisted procedures for pancreatic, esophageal, stomach and colorectal cancers.

For many patients, robotic-assisted surgery offers benefits to conventional open surgery:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less blood loss
  • Faster recovery time
  • Less pain
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Minimized scarring

Pancreatic Cancer

Baton Rouge General is the only hospital in Louisiana, and one of very few in the country, to perform the most advanced treatment for pancreatic cancer called the robotic Whipple procedure.

A much simpler name for a pancreaticoduodenectomy, the Whipple procedure is a complex operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine, the gallbladder and the bile duct. The often life-saving procedure is used to treat pancreatic cancer that’s confined to the head of the pancreas.

After performing the Whipple procedure, the surgeon reconnects the remaining organs to allow you to digest food normally after surgery. Doing the Whipple procedure robotically means the surgeon can get into tight spaces with the most minimally invasive approach.

Esophageal and Stomach Cancer

The Advanced Robotics Institute can surgically treat any disease of the “foregut,” which is the esophagus and stomach. We specialize in esophagectomies, the surgery to remove all or part of the esophagus. They are most often performed in patients with esophageal cancer, which is more common among men than women. In the past, esophagectomies meant a hard recovery for patients, with at least a 10-day stay in the hospital. The advancement of robotics has drastically improved this surgery and the outcomes for patients.

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is not as common but because stomach cancer symptoms can be mistaken for less serious problems like indigestion or heartburn, it’s often not diagnosed until an advanced stage. Surgery for stomach cancer can be challenging, and the advance of robotic-assisted surgery has improved outcomes.

Reflux Surgery

Our team is specially trained to treat patients suffering from diseases of the esophagus and stomach, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia and paraesophageal, or hiatal, hernias.

Achalasia is a rare disorder that occurs when nerves in the esophagus become damaged, making swallowing difficult. Some people mistake achalasia for GERD, but in achalasia the food is coming from the esophagus, not the stomach.

Paraesophageal hernias occur when the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, or other organs move up into the chest. Though a less common type of hernia, it is more cause for concern. Some patients don’t experience symptoms, but others can experience chest pain, upper abdominal pain, and difficulty swallowing. Many patients with this type of hernia also suffer from GERD.

GERD occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus. This creates “backwash” called acid reflux, which is very common and can irritate the lining of your esophagus.

In addition to frequent acid reflux, other symptoms of GERD include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Bad breath and dental erosion

Complex Hernia Surgery

Hernias are most often treated with surgery, typically performed as an open surgery or laparoscopically. Robotic surgery is a newer technique for hernia repairs, offering the clearest images of the inside of the abdomen, fewer incisions and less scarring. At the Advanced Robotics Institute, our team is skilled at performing robotic assisted surgery for various types of hernias.

Some ventral hernias require a more complex repair, with the surgeon separating and restructuring the abdominal wall muscle. Robotic ventral hernia repair is a minimally invasive technique that allows surgeons to repair the hernia through four small incisions, with better visualization and the most precise movements.

An incisional hernia can occur after a person has stomach surgery, which usually involves an incision down the middle of the stomach. If the surgical wound doesn’t heal completely, you could be at a higher risk of developing a hernia.

Leaders in Education

A leader in the field of robotic surgery, John J. Tabor, MD, trains other surgeons across the state and country on robotic assisted procedures. Intuitive Surgical, the creators of the da Vinci surgical system, host robust educational programs for surgeons, providing them with a progressive, surgeon-led series featuring clinical application and advanced techniques. Dr. Tabor travels throughout the country to train surgeons at Intuitive’ s main training centers, including Memorial Hermann’s Surgical Innovation and Robotics Institute.

If your facility is interested in robotic surgery training, call (225) 333-3800.