While the innovative da Vinci surgical robot's use is largely limited to specialized procedures, Evergreen Healthcare is the first hospital in the area to implement minimally invasive robot-assisted general surgery. This is expected to increase the number of patients who can benefit from the quicker recoveries and shorter hospital stays the da Vinci technology provides. Evergreen was also the first in the Puget Sound to perform gall bladder removal using da Vinci.

Surgeons use the da Vinci robot's master controls to maneuver the surgical instruments, guided by a high-resolution endoscopic camera.

The robot arms extend the natural motion of the surgeon's hands and refine those movements to reduce the likelihood of error.

Currently, da Vinci-assisted surgeries are largely used for urological and obstetrical procedures such as prostatectomies and hysterectomies.

At Evergreen, surgeons began extending the da Vinci system to also perform abdominal laparoscopic and bariatric procedures.

Last October marked the first time in the Puget Sound region the da Vinci system was used for a gall bladder removal procedure, but the patient wasn't as impressed by that milestone as he was by the fact he went home the same day and needed no pain medication.

Dr. Michael Towbin, who performed the gall bladder procedure, began adapting the system for further general surgery. Dr. Towbin says the da Vinci offers several advantages, starting with its ergonomics. He says the wrist controls can do more than the human wrist, which means the surgeon can get different angles and approaches to anatomy, and the high-definition camera provides 3D images magnified several times for incredible accuracy.

"While it is renowned for prostate and gynecologic surgeries, it's relatively new in the general surgery arena," said Dr. Towbin. "I've been a surgeon for many years, and I've not been this excited about a surgical tool. This is a game-changer, it really is." Evergreen has used the da Vinci robot for two years and, in response to growing patient demand, will soon add a second da Vinci system.

Evergreen's history of serving the community with patient-friendly technology was most recently augmented by the introduction of MAKOplasty, a minimally invasive partial knee replacement surgical technology. MAKOplasty joins Evergreen's suite of patient-friendly technology for hip and knee replacement surgery, which includes arthroscopy, computer navigation and minimally invasive total knee replacement.

To learn more about Evergreen's general surgery program and use of the da Vinci robot, visit or call the Evergreen Healthline 425.899.3000.

About Evergreen Healthcare Evergreen Healthcare, a public hospital district and community-based health care organization established in 1972, offers a breadth of services and programs that is among the most comprehensive in the region. More than 950 physicians provide clinical excellence within more than 80 specialties, including cardiac, oncology, surgical care, orthopedics, a Neuroscience Institute, Women's and Children's services, hospice care, pulmonary care, a Sleep Disorders Center and Home Health services care. Evergreen serves more than 400,000 residents in its primary service area of northern King and southern Snohomish counties with Evergreen Medical Group, a network of primary and urgent care practices, and Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, its main hospital campus in Kirkland, Wash. Evergreen also provides emergency care at two sites; its main hospital campus and the Evergreen Redmond Medical Center. In addition to clinical care, Evergreen offers extensive community health outreach and education programs, anchored by Evergreen Healthline, a 24/7 nurse consultation service. For more information, visit .

CONTACTS: Kay Taylor VP of Marketing Evergreen Healthcare 425.899.2604 Ken LeBlond Public Relations Program Manager Evergreen Healthcare 425.899.1886 SOURCE Evergreen Healthcare -0- 02/10/2012 /Web Site: CO: Evergreen Healthcare ST: Washington IN: HEA SU: PDT PRN -- SF51786 -- 0000 02/10/2012 22:10:48 EDT http://www.prnewswire.c