Lovelace showcases robots used to help perform surgeries

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lovelace Women’s Hospital uses three robots to help perform surgeries on patients almost daily.

Dr. Mario Leyba is one of the surgeons who operates the state-of-the-art robots, worth $2 million each.

“We’ve almost hit our 10,000th case, which is actually a tremendous accomplishment for Lovelace,” Leyba said.

Leyba said their robots are most often used for hernia surgeries, but said they are ideal for any surgery deep inside the body.

“The robot actually gives you the ability to focus on the area you want to work with precision,” Leyba said. “And avoid any external, you know extra incisions, which is going to cause more pain, which needs more pain medicine.”

The robotics program at Lovelace has been around since 2012.

Leyba says Lovelace is not only a leader in the Southwest but in the whole country.

“In fact, we did a live surgery from Lovelace Women’s Hospital all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, in front of 1,500 surgeons, demonstrating our skills in abdominal surgery,” Leyba said.

The hospital was recently named a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery for the second time.

On Wednesday, some local youth got to take a spin at controlling a demonstration robot.

“Sometimes, little things like that spark interest in the kid or child’s sake,” Leyba said. “You know what, I remember I was in the hospital and I saw a nurse, I want to be a nurse. Or I saw the ambulance, I want to be an ambulance driver. I saw the surgeon, I want to be a surgeon. So those little things spark interest, and that’s what we’re trying to do – maybe plant the seed that maybe will blossom one day for those kids.”