(Springfield, MO) -- For years, area hospitals have been performing a variety of surgeries through the use of a robotic device known as the da Vinci.
It's an alternative to open and laproscopic surgery and is said to be less invasive.
With his patients all the way across the operating room, Dr. Eric Guilliams says he can perform surgery even better than if he was at their bedside
"You actually learn with robotic surgery to touch with your eyes."
It's through the da Vinci 2, a robotic surgery device, Dr. Guilliams is now able to see his surgeries like never before.
"It allows greater than tenfold magnification high-definition 3D vision of the tissues."
Robotic surgery is an approach this urologist has been using at Mercy since 2008 for prostate, kidney and bladder surgeries. And it's one that's made difficult hand-assisted maneuvers more manageable.
"I would actually hold the kidney with one hand and try to sew it with the other," adds Dr. Guilliams. "It was just very challenging because you have 2D vision."
Through controls and a screen, doctors are able to cut cancerous tissue away with the nudge of a nodule, something urologist Mark Walterskirchen says took some getting used to.
"At first it was exciting, but beyond frustrating, because you are used to being on the bedside with the patient."
Walterskirchen admits he now prefers the hands-off approach.
"Now when we do an open case, it's kind of like where's my robot," says Walterskirchen.
And according to these doctors, so do their patients.
"To be completely honest, when they hear that I haven't done an open-prostate removal in over three years, I think they would all opt for the robotic approach," adds Dr. Guilliams. He says robotic surgery is much less invasive, allowing for easier recovery.
"They're going home in a day, depending on what they do, they can be back to work in two weeks, opposed to six weeks."
Doctors say the robotic surgery does cost more than basic open surgery and there is no data that supports the approach as more effective at eliminating cancer, but if you ask these them, "It is doing exactly what I tell it to," says Walterskirchen. "If I don't move it it's not going to move."
Operating at more than an arm's length distance is what they prefer.