Baptist Health ( Jacksonville) Pioneers Surgical Robot Innovation with Benefits for Patients

"To me, being the first at Baptist Health was an exciting, cool thing."

That's how 62-year-old Valerie Sawyer describes her weight loss surgery, which was performed in April at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville using the hospital's new Maestro Surgical Robotics System.

The device, which the hospital says is the first of its kind in the US, allows surgeons to use "an extra set of hands" to help hold instruments and move them with precision, per a press release.

Sawyer, a Baptist Health team member who's lost about 30 pounds since the surgery, had been trying to lose weight since having gastric band surgery 20 years ago, but the band slipped and was causing her "extreme discomfort," she tells First Coast News.

She decided it was time to have a gastric sleeve, and her doctor recommended the robotic surgery.

"Because of surgical expertise and technological advancements, like the new Robotics System, patients can undergo a sleeve gastrectomy using a minimally invasive approach, which helps reduce pain and recovery time," says Dr. Steven Hodgett, who performed the surgery.

"In fact, patients usually go home after an overnight stay in the hospital."

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