Training Simulator at Northern Westchester Hospital Helps NY Surgeons Refine Robotic Surgery Skills

Posted on: November 6, 2012

An Interview with Dr. Jerald Wishner

The Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery (IRMIS) at Northern Westchester Hospital offers many patients an effective alternative to both open surgery and laparoscopy with the da Vinci® Surgical System. Jerald Wishner, MD, Medical Director of the Colorectal Cancer Program at Northern Westchester Hospital, and Co-Director of IRMIS shares some of the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery and the intensive training required by surgeons to use this leading technology….

“In the past, laparoscopic surgery allowed us to make small incisions and help ease recovery for patients,” he explained. “But the robot really gives us much finer control. It eliminates any tremor in your hands, any vibration. We’re able to perform even more precise surgeries.”

Robot assisted surgery requires a great deal of training. Northern Westchester Hospital has multiple surgical robots and a training simulator that surgeons use to refine their skills and master various robot-assisted techniques. This system is similar to a flight simulator that pilots use when training to fly jet airplanes. The robotic surgery simulator enables surgeons to perfect their skills and meet the stringent requirements necessary for performing highly-precise robot-assisted surgery.

“The simulator allows surgeons to gain substantial experience using robotic instrumentation to master various techniques, such as clamping blood vessels and highly-precise suturing,” shared Dr. Wishner. Northern Westchester Hospital is one of only a few hospitals nationally to have conducted over 1,000 robot-assisted surgeries and is the first hospital in the region to offer robot-assisted colorectal surgery.

Dr. Wishner is excited about the future of robotics – especially when it comes to cancer surgery. “The high level of precision and visualization is especially valuable as it helps surgeons to accurately identify the margins surrounding cancerous tissue. This improves our ability to safely remove the cancerous lesion, while minimizing the impact on surrounding healthy tissue, decreasing blood loss, and helping to shorten recovery times.”

To learn more about da Vinci® surgery please visit You can also read some frequently asked questions to help you decide if robotic surgery might be right for you.