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Dr. Farnam captures spotlight for El Paso in live broadcast of robotic surgery

More than 7,000 gynecologic surgeons got their first look at the latest innovation in robotic surgery demonstrated by Dr. Richard Farnam of the Texas Urogynecology and Laser Surgery Center during the 2016 AAGL Global Hysterectomy Summit in April.

Farnam and his team appeared via live broadcast to perform the first hysterectomy in the U.S. using the new integrated table motion system. The telesurgery  was broadcast from Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso to the 200 physicians at the summit in San Diego and to 7,000 American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) members worldwide.

Integrated table motion combines the da Vinci Xi, Intuitive Surgical’s latest robotic-assisted surgical system, and Trumpf Medical’s advanced operating table, the TruSystem® 7000dV, to allow surgeons and anesthesiologists the ability to make a comprehensive range of table adjustments to move the patient easily and efficiently during an operation to improve surgical access.

Farnam, who serves as director of the Epicenter for Robotic Surgery at Las Palmas Medical Center, has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive surgeries, more than 1,500 laparoscopic hysterectomy procedures and more than 1,500 robotic surgeries.

“We were the first center in the country to perform a single site hysterectomy, and today we are the first to demonstrate intraoperative table motion to a national audience. I am overwhelmed with pride and emotion at what we have accomplished,” Farnam said after the demonstration. 

In an interview with the El Paso Times, AAGL President Dr. Arnold Advincula - who is the vice chairman of women’s health and chief of gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center - said the AAGL chose Farnam to do the demonstration because he is an innovative educator who is an up-and-coming talent in the field of urogynecology.

"It's a great opportunity for people to see how individuals who have centers of excellence, who have best-practice techniques are able to implement a particular procedure," Advincula told the Times. "When you do live surgery, one thing that always comes across as true is the fact that you can't sugarcoat it. It's not edited, it's not dummied-down to five minutes of a one-hour procedure. You can actually see the whole thing in action and you get to really see how somebody performs the procedure, which from an educational standpoint is tremendous."

Dr. Richard Farnam describes the sequence of events to his team prior to the surgery that was about to be broadcast live. The team, which included Lorenzo Del Olmo, Mike Thomas and Valeria Torres, gathered around the state-of-the-art surgical bed as they prepared. (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

Dr. Richard Farnam describes the sequence of events to his team prior to the surgery that was about to be broadcast live. The team, which included Lorenzo Del Olmo, Mike Thomas and Valeria Torres, gathered around the state-of-the-art surgical bed as they prepared.(Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

Clarissa Anderson, a surgical technician, moves the da Vinci Surgical System Robot into position for surgery. (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

Clarissa Anderson, a surgical technician, moves the da Vinci Surgical System Robot into position for surgery. (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

Dr. Richard Farnam, director of the Epicenter for Robotic Surgery at Las Palmas Medical Center, has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive surgeries, more than 1,500 laparoscopic hysterectomy procedures and more than 1,500 robotic surgeries.

Dr. Richard Farnam, director of the Epicenter for Robotic Surgery at Las Palmas Medical Center, has performed more than 3,000 minimally invasive surgeries, more than 1,500 laparoscopic hysterectomy procedures and more than 1,500 robotic surgeries. (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

Dr. Richard Farnam, a native El Pasoan, returned to the city in 2006 after completing 13 years of undergraduate and advanced medical training.

Dr. Richard Farnam, a native El Pasoan, returned to the city in 2006 after completing 13 years of undergraduate and advanced medical training. The doctor, now at Las Palmas Medical Center, performed a surgery live on April 16 that was broadcast to 200 physicians at the 2016 Global Hysterectomy Summit in San Diego, and to 7,000 American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists members worldwide. (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

The surgical team prior to live telesurgery: Top row, from left, Dr. Jessica Compean (anesthesia), Lorenzo Del Olmo (licensed surgical assistant) and Maggie Silva (surgical tech). Bottom row: Clarissa Anderson (surgical tech), Dr. Richard Farnam director of Robotic Epicenter) and Valeria Torres (RN). (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

The surgical team prior to live telesurgery: Top row, from left, Dr. Jessica Compean (anesthesia), Lorenzo Del Olmo (licensed surgical assistant) and Maggie Silva (surgical tech). Bottom row: Clarissa Anderson (surgical tech), Dr. Richard Farnam director of Robotic Epicenter) and Valeria Torres (RN). (Photo: Diane Sierra / Special to the Times)

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