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Digestive Institute Tampa Surgeon Appointed to Advisory Board of Robotic Surgeons

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Sharona Ross, MD, FACS, advanced HPB and Foregut surgeon at the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa, was invited to sit on an advisory board of a major American manufacturer of a robotic surgical system.

On the board, Dr. Ross is joined by 17 other surgeons from prestigious centers such as Massachusetts General Hospital (served by surgeons from Harvard University), the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital. She is one of just three surgeons selected to represent HPB (hepatopancreatobiliary) surgery for liver, pancreatic and bile duct conditions.

“It’s quite a unique honor to be selected to sit on this new board,” says Dr. Ross. “I know many, many famous surgeons, and I’m humbled and happy that they chose me.”

It’s also notable that Dr. Ross, as a female surgeon, was invited to sit on the board. “The majority of the group are men,” says Dr. Ross. “Only four of us on the board are women, and I’m the only female surgeon there who specializes in HPB surgery,” she says.

Digestive Institute Tampa Surgeons Have Deep Experience in Robotic Surgery

The surgeons at AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa (DI) are some of the most experienced in the nation with using robotic surgery to offer patients minimally invasive operations. The Digestive Institute is considered a high-volume center in pancreatic and liver operations with the surgical robot. These are procedures that require long hospital stays and involved recoveries. However, if they can be offered with minimally invasive surgery, patients recover much more quickly. Patients also experience dramatically shorter hospital stays, less pain and a faster return to normal daily activities.

To perform robotic surgery, surgeons sit at consoles that give them a magnified, 3D, high-resolution view of the portion of the body being operated on. These consoles also allow the surgeons’ to directly control instruments placed through small incisions on the surface of a patient’s body.

Unlike laparoscopic surgery, the traditional form of minimally invasive surgery, a robotic approach gives surgeons the freedom to move their surgical instruments in all directions. The result is that very fine movements can be performed in tight spaces.

The DI surgeons’ extensive experience gives their patients very good outcomes. In general, the more experienced a surgeon is in providing a particular operation, the better the results will be. However, these excellent outcomes are also backed by the data that DI surgeons and their research teams keep on each of their operations. As DI surgeons continually improve at offering robotic surgery for their operations, they have been able to perform more and more complex procedures that way.

Life on a Medical Technology Advisory Board

Of the surgeons on the advisory board, Dr. Ross may be unique insofar that she doesn’t work at a hospital that’s a national household name. However, given her high level of experience in using the surgical robot for pancreatic and esophageal operations, she is a wonderful asset for the board.

Surgeons from other specialties also serve on the board, including those specializing in bariatric, cardiothoracic, colorectal, gynecologic and pediatric surgery. The manufacturer of the robotic surgical system can benefit from these surgeons’ input and expertise, which will help the company make decisions about everything from research and development to marketing.

“We have the opportunity to learn about new technology – what exists, what’s coming and what’s being developed,” says Dr. Ross. The surgeons also provide beneficial feedback to the company in letting them know what new features or equipment it would be nice for the surgical robot to have.

The advisory board primarily meets via Zoom calls, but they also recently spent time together for a couple days at the company’s headquarters. Dr. Ross notes that during that meeting in person, the company utilized the surgeons’ time “to the max.”

“Even at dinner, we were talking about things important to the advancement of robotic surgery,” she says. “They had 100 percent of our attention.”

If you might need surgery for a digestive condition, trust the center that is recognized for striving to offer its patients the least invasive approach. For an appointment with an AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa surgeon, call Call813-615-7030.

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