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Minimally Invasive Surgery


The Tri-Cities Center for Robotic Surgery at Franklin Woods Community Hospital now offers the lastest in minimally invasive robotic surgery with the Tri-Cities ONLY da Vinci® Xi Surgery System.

Our newest surgical robotic system, the da Vinci® Xi, is making surgery more effective, less invasive and easier on surgeons, patients and their families. Using this system, we can operate through small incisions with a 3D HD magnified view inside the body using tiny instruments that bend and rotate. These features enable surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control resulting in smaller incisions, less pain, faster healing and less scarring.  

Franklin Woods Community Hospital is the only medical facility in the Tri-Cities area that has the NEW da Vinci® Xi Robotic Surgery System. This new robotic system, combined with our current da Vinci® Si, allows us to offer advanced technology in these specialties:

  • Colorectal
  • Ear, Nose & Throat
  • General Surgery
  • OB/GYN
  • Urology

Minimally invasive surgery is becoming more and more common in hospitals. These procedures are performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. Because the incisions are small, patients tend to have quicker recovery times and less discomfort than with conventional surgery — all with the same benefits. Franklin Woods Community Hospital recently received the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® for minimally invasive colorectal surgery. Franklin Woods is the third hospital in the nation and the first in Tennessee to receive this honor. Learn More. 

During a minimally invasive procedure, surgeons make several small incisions in the skin — just a few millimeters, in some cases. A long, thin tube with a miniature camera attached at the end (called an endoscope) is passed through one of the incisions. Images from the endoscope are projected onto monitors in the operating room so surgeons can get a clear (and magnified) view of the surgical area. Special instruments are passed through the other openings. These instruments allow the surgeon to perform the surgery by exploring, removing, or repairing whatever's wrong inside the body.

Types of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

  • One of the latest technological breakthroughs in medicine is robotic-assisted surgery. FWCH uses the da Vinci Robotic Program which allows surgeons to make a single small incision (sometimes through the belly button) to perform procedures that once required multiple and larger incision sites. With this type of surgery there are no or smaller scars, recovery time is faster and patients are back to their daily routines much quicker.
  • The da Vinci technology is especially suited for several types of surgery which are performed at FWCH in areas of urology; gynecology; and ear, nose and throat.  Some common general surgeries performed robotically are those involving gall bladder, colon and hernia repair.
  • Fluorescent imaging technology is one aspect of robotic surgery that improves surgical accuracy. For example, during a partial nephrechtomy, the fluorescence allows the surgeon to easily identify healthy versus non-healthy tissue.
  • Another feature of robotic surgery is use of a Vessel Sealer, which means surgery can be done with fewer stitches, less likelihood of post-op leaking, lower risk of infection and quicker healing. FWCH is one of only 14 sites in the U.S. using this unique Vessel Sealer technology.
  • Franklin Woods is pleased to have the only ENT, gynecological, urological and general surgeons in the Tri-Cities area who are specially trained in this cutting-edge technology. Among these surgeons are those specializing in the areas of gall bladder removal, gynecological oncology and ear, nose and throat procedures.

Non-Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery (Endoscopic)

Non-robotic minimally invasive surgery is also known as endoscopic surgery. You also may be familiar with terms like laparoscopic surgery, thoracoscopic surgery, or “keyhole” surgery. These are minimally invasive procedures that utilize an endoscope to reach internal organs through very small incisions.

During endoscopic surgery the surgeon inserts a thin, flexible tube with a video camera through a small incision or a natural orifice like the mouth or nostrils. The tube has a channel to utilize tiny surgical instruments, which the surgeon uses while viewing the organs on a computer monitor. This technique allows the surgeon to see inside the patient’s body and operate through a much smaller incision than would otherwise be required of traditional open surgery.

The benefits of endoscopic surgical procedures can include:

  • Small incisions, few incisions, or no incision
  • Less pain
  • Low risk of infection
  • Short hospital stay
  • Quick recovery time
  • Less scarring
  • Reduced blood loss

Some conditions treated at Franklin Woods using minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Urology
    • Kidney
    • Prostate
    • Bladder
  • Gynecology
    • Hysterectomy
    • Oophorectomy
    • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • General Surgery
    • Colorectal
    • Esophageal
    • Hernia
    • Gallbladder
  • Ear, Nose and Throat
    • Sleep apnea surgery
    • Pharyngeal masses

Not all minimally invasive procedures are completed with robot assistance, and not all medical cases are right for robotic-assisted surgery. Some patients may benefit from endoscopic or open (traditional) surgery. Discuss with your doctor on which approach could meet your surgical needs.