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Children's National Medical Center adds Robotic Surgery for Urology to Surgical Specialties

Washington, DC—Children’s National Medical Center has added robotic surgery as a minimally invasive option for some pediatric urologic procedures. The team, led by international robotic surgery expert Craig Peters, MD, and a trained team of surgical support staff, will use the da Vinci Surgical System to provide an additional minimally invasive surgical option for children requiring several common urologic surgical procedures.

Children’s National is the region’s only team to use a surgical robotic system solely in pediatric procedures. While surgical robotics are common for adult procedures like prostate surgery, the application of this system in children’s hospitals has, to date, been limited to pediatric urology.

“Early results show promise as a minimally invasive surgical option for children for pediatric urology,” said Dr. Peters, urologist and Chief of the Division of Surgical Innovation, Technology, and Translation, who has applied surgical robotics techniques for the last 10 years. “Our hope at the Sheikh Zayed Institute is that our team of engineers, scientists, and expert pediatric surgeons will allow us to develop innovative uses for robotic surgery to minimize pain and recovery for children needing surgery.”

Both the hiring of Dr. Peters and the addition of the da Vinci Surgical System to Children’s National were made possible through the clinical and research efforts of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, which share a significant interest in developing more precise, less invasive, and pain-free surgery for children. The team will begin with pediatric urologic procedures and conduct research on how the precision of this system will benefit other procedures, including general surgery procedures. 

“The arrival of this robotic surgery system is another logical step toward improving surgical care for children,” said Peter Kim, MD, PhD, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Associate Surgeon in Chief at Children’s National. “Our efforts to enhance these technologies and emphasize training through simulation will ensure that more precise, less painful methods and devices become sustainable for future generations of children needing surgery, and eventually may make surgery without any incisions possible.” 

In addition to the clinical robotic system, Children’s National will also add a robot for training and research, which will be housed in the bioengineering laboratory at the Sheikh Zayed Institute. This research-based robot will be used to train more surgeons on the system and allow doctors and engineers to create new tools that surgeons can use with the surgical system to perform additional procedures on other areas of the body.

For more information, contact Jennifer Stinebiser at 202-476-4500.

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