News | Published April 3, 2012

Groundbreaking da Vinci Surgical System available at Mount Nittany

Mount Nittany is pleased to announce the newest addition to its expert surgical team: the groundbreaking, minimally invasive da Vinci® surgical system - available exclusively at Mount Nittany Medical Center as the only facility to offer this tool within an 80-mile radius.

Thanks to its state-of-the-art maneuvering and imaging, the da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to perform even the most complex procedures with unmatched precision, producing superior patient outcomes. With incisions smaller than the size of a dime and recovery times faster than traditional and even laparoscopic (i.e. non-robotic assisted) minimally invasive surgery, patients facing or considering surgery can take comfort in knowing the world-class da Vinci Surgical System is available close to home at Mount Nittany.

"The da Vinci System enables three-dimensional visualization inside the body and greater precision in a small confined space, while making it easier to operate using small incisions," says Howard Miller, MD, urologist, Mount Nittany Physician Group.

The da Vinci method is a form of laparoscopy surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through an incision in the stomach to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs.

While Mount Nittany has been doing minimally invasive laparoscopic hysterectomies in gynecology for more than a year, according to Shreya Patel, MD, obstetrics/gynecology, Mount Nittany Physician Group, "The advantage of the da Vinci surgical system is in providing the ability to have the right tool for a particular patient and procedure."

Da Vinci allows the surgeons' hand movements to be scaled, filtered and translated into precise movements of the instruments inside the patient's body. It even removes hand tremors.

"Many hysterectomies have been done in the past with an open abdominal incision. Our goal with the minimally invasive surgical program is to drastically reduce that number. With da Vinci we will have help accomplishing our goal of 95 percent minimally invasive," according to J. Frederick Doucette, MD, obstetrics/gynecology, Mount Nittany Physician Group. "It's very exciting to be able to offer it because of the benefits to patients."

"Prostatectomies (surgeries to remove cancerous prostate) can been done with robotic assistance, and 80 percent of the men who are candidates for this surgery are now having it done with success via robotic-assisted surgery," said Miller.

Mount Nittany Medical Center operating teams in urology and gynecology are currently doing procedures such as prostatectomies, kidney surgeries, minimally invasive hysterectomies, as well as procedures to treat cysts, uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

The innovative robotic techniques used in minimally invasive surgeries results in many potential patient benefits:

  • Less scarring
  • Significantly less pain
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery time
  • Smaller incisions

For more information about minimally invasive surgeries in urology, call 814.238.8418. For information on minimally invasive surgeries in gynecology, call 814.237.3470 or visit