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It may be your first robotic knee surgery...

....but at Swedish, it's definitely not ours.

If you have advanced arthritis in part of your knee, robotic-assisted surgery is a great way to go. The incision is smaller. Recovery time is faster. And the surgery is more accurate for better knee function down the road.

So where should you go? Well, Swedish was the first in the Puget Sound area to perform MAKOplasty for partial knee replacements, and we’ve done more of them than any hospital in the region.

Come learn more from a Swedish orthopedic surgeon at one of our seminars, and take the first step toward a pain-free life. Or, watch the below video to see highlights from a partial knee replacement procedure:

FREE ROBOTIC KNEE SURGERY SEMINAR

Call 206-386-2502 or register online at www.swedish.org/classes
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6–8 p.m. OR Thursday, Feb. 16, 6–8 p.m.
Swedish Orthopedic Institute 601 Broadway, Seattle
(Corner of Broadway and Cherry St. – Hourly parking available under the building)

Using robotic technology to improve outcomes in myasthenia gravis and thymoma

New technologies have the potential to improve patient outcomes but need to be carefully studied so that patients will maximally benefit.  Robotic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis and thymomas was introduced at Swedish in May of 2009 after careful evaluation of our outcomes with traditional sternotomy and VATS thymectomy.

One of the more challenging aspects of being a surgeon is to understand how new technologies can benefit your patients and how those technologies might become part of your practice. If you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, read Time magazine or the Wall Street Journal or surfed the web recently, you’ll be aware of the da Vinci surgical robot. The robot has allowed many different surgical specialties to operate in confined areas of the body with tiny instruments placed through equally small incisions thereby avoiding a larger incision. In thoracic surgery, one of the confined spaces is an area in front of the heart where a gland called the thymus resides.

Most people don’t even realize they have a thymus nor do they know it’s responsible for the development of immunity. However, for a small number of patients the thymus can be source of disease either by generating a tumor called a thymoma or by producing antibodies that block transmission of nerve impulses making the patient fatigue or weaken very quickly which is called myasthenia gravis (MG). Removing the thymus gland (thymectomy) is an important part of the treatment in both diseases.

Traditionally, thymectomy is accomplished ...

Best seats in the house…or in this case, the OR

If you’ve ever wanted to sit in the gallery of Grey’s Anatomy and watch a surgery, we have something for you that’s a little more powerful. On Friday, we invite you to tune in to a livestream of a procedure that changes patients’ lives.

On Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST), Drs. Ron Young and Ryder Gwinn, surgeons from the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, will host a livestream on this page to discuss the affects of Essential Tremor (ET), the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgical procedure used to treat ET and the other innovative treatment options for ET available at Swedish and throughout the country.

ET is a progressive neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease and is often un-diagnosed.

The livestream will feature a video stream of a recorded DBS surgical procedure performed at Swedish, accompanied by a live web chat led by Drs. Young and Gwinn. The DBS device is like a pacemaker for the brain. During the surgery, a tiny wire is implanted in the area of the brain that controls abnormal movement. This wire modifies the brain’s electrical signals to help control tremors and other abnormal movements.

It gets better

Not only will you have a front seat (from the comfort of home or wherever your mobile device is) to see a life-changing surgical procedure, but you can also ask questions live to our surgeons about the surgery, essential tremor, and any other related questions you may have (like what is Gamma Knife?). And, we’ll have patients who will share their stories about the procedure and how it has changed their lives – for the better.

Tune in on Friday

You can watch the livestream ...

Surgical precision and painted pumpkins

Forget 'will it blend' - you should be asking, can my robot paint a pumpkin? (It can!)

Dr. Kristen Austin, OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) physician at Swedish/Issaquah paints a Jack-O-Lantern on a miniature pumpkin using the da Vinci robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.


If you've been wondering what the setup looks like in the OR, here are a few behind the scenes photo from our video shoot:

Lung Cancer staging

What stage is my cancer, doc?

This is often the first question we get asked when meeting with a patient newly diagnosed with lung cancer. In this blog, I would like to briefly review the notion of lung cancer staging and its implications.

Staging allows us to define the extent of a cancer and determine its best available treatment. It also allows us to statistically estimate the prognosis of the cancer. Finally, adequate staging allows us to group patients with cancers of similar extent across different institutions or even countries and evaluate the efficacy of the treatment strategies and compare with new ones.

Staging can be clinical or pathological. Clinical staging is based on the information we obtain from X-rays and scans as well as from procedures where samples (biopsies) of different tissues are obtained in an effort determine what structures may be involved with the cancer. Pathological staging is only available when the cancer has been removed by surgery: i.e. when the pathologist has measured the size of the tumor, its extent and whether or not any lymph nodes were involved with cancer. One should be aware that pathological and clinical stagings don’t always concord 100%. Sometimes clinical staging under-evaluates how extensive the cancer may be, and at times it over-evaluates it, particularly when clinical staging is based only on X-ray information. This is particularly true with the evaluation of lymph nodes that drain the area where the cancer has come from. The role of your lung cancer surgeon in adequately gathering that information to develop the best treatment plan cannot be emphasized enough.

The system we use to define a stage is called the TNM system.

Should a robot perform your surgery?

Robotic surgery - the term implies some futuristic concept, a la the “Jetsons” or Isaac Asimov. As someone who was a science fiction fan growing up, I never thought I’d actually spend every day of my professional life answering this question.

As a gynecologic oncology surgeon, this is a question I now ask myself every time I pick up a patient’s chart. And the answer more times than not is YES! Why?

Your Multidisciplinary Surgical Care Team

It can be overwhelming and confusing to have numerous professionals involved in your care when you undergo surgery. Your surgeon, also known as the “attending” surgeon, oversees your total care when you have surgery. In addition to your attending surgeon you will encounter many different people during your hospitalization who are invested in your care. The following is meant to familiarize you with professionals you may encounter during your hospital experience.

Your Surgical Team

Thoracic Surgeons, Fellows, and Residents

We take pride and are highly invested in teaching at Swedish. As part of this dedication to teaching we (the Thoracic Surgery team at Swedish) participate in an accredited training program for thoracic and esophageal “fellows”. Our fellows are surgeons seeking additional advanced surgical instruction in this specialized field of thoracic and esophageal surgery.

Swedish has a robust surgical residency training program which includes time spent on our service. There is always a senior surgical resident assigned to our team involved in the daily care of our patients.

During your hospitalization and follow-up care you will routinely encounter the attending surgeon, fellow, and resident daily. In the event that your attending surgeon is away, your care will be directed by one of our other thoracic surgical attending physicians.

Interventional Pulmonologist

Our Thoracic Surgery team also includes an airway specialist (Interventional Pulmonologist) who understands complex airway problems and specializes in advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to treat patients with cancer, airway disorders, and pleural disease. This specialist collaborates closely with our Thoracic Surgery team, a team of medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists to improve the care of our patients.

Thoracic Surgery Nurses

Nurses at the bedside are integral in our care delivery during your hospitalization. We value the twenty-four hour expert care that our specially trained nurses offer and work closely with them to provide you a positive experience.

Thoracic Surgery Nurse Practitioners

Our team also includes two expert nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are nurses who have graduate level training in specific areas of adult and acute care medicine. These nurse practitioners work closely with the surgeons and nursing staff in your overall care management, educate you about your health condition(s), and work with you in managing health concerns following surgery. They facilitate your transition of care to home and support you in the early post-operative period.

Additional Support Professionals

We commonly call on the expertise and help of other health care professionals while you are in the hospital, such as:

Nutritionists

Many of our patients come to us in a compromised health state. We will often consult with our nutritionists for their recommendations and approaches to provide you with the nutritional support required to improve your nutritional state and support your recovery.

Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and occupational therapists are vital in the care of our patients. They provide assessments and recommendations for rehabilitation and work with us to restore your physical and functional capacity following surgery.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists are also extraordinarily vital in the care of our patients. They work hard to assess and maintain pulmonary hygiene and optimize your breathing status following surgery.

We believe that by incorporating a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals into your surgical care we can offer you the continuity and quality of care that you deserve.

Do you have questions about multidisciplinary health care teams? Or, have you ever experienced multidisciplinary care teams? Please share your experiences and questions with us.

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