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Adventist Health Sonora building comprehensive urology and advanced robotic-assisted surgery program


October 13, 2020 (Sonora, Calif.) – Adventist Health Sonora has acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical, Inc. The da Vinci surgical system brings the most advanced robotic technology to patients and physicians in the area.

“I am grateful for our surgery team and impressed by their resolve to bring this system online quickly,” says Michelle Fuentes, Adventist Health Sonora president. “On our first day using the da Vinci system, three patients received advanced care from an experienced urologist fellowship trained in robotic surgery. I was invited to watch one of the first cases and was struck by the precision and skill that I witnessed. This is the future of urologic surgery, and our team is proud to offer this advanced technology in our rural community.”

Many of the minimally invasive procedures performed using the da Vinci system allow patients to have their procedure and comfortably recover at home the same day. Other benefits for patients include less post-surgical pain, shorter hospital stays for inpatient procedures and faster return to normal daily activities.

Although the da Vinci is referred to as a “robot,” the system is not autonomous. It does not perform surgery, and the surgeon is in complete control of the instruments at all times. With the surgeon sitting at a console just a few feet from the patient, the da Vinci system translates the surgeon’s hand movements into corresponding micro-movements of the surgical instruments. This system enables physicians to perform delicate and complex operations through tiny incisions with enhanced dexterity and control.

The da Vinci system is not the first “robot” that Adventist Health has brought to Sonora. In 2014, orthopedic surgeons began using the RIO®, a highly advanced, surgeon-controlled robotic arm system used to perform Makoplasty®, a minimally invasive treatment option for adults with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis of the knee.


“We are committed to investing in our community and bringing the latest technology to Sonora so that patients can receive the care they need without the discomfort and cost of traveling to academic medical centers,” Fuentes explains. “As we work to build a comprehensive urology program, having the latest robotic technology will enable us to attract additional medical expertise and highly trained physicians to care for our community.”

Adventist Health Sonora is in the process of recruiting two full-time urologists who will offer non-surgical treatment options as well as surgery and robotic-assisted surgical care for both men and women with conditions ranging from kidney stones and overactive bladder issues to infertility and cancer. Currently the urology program includes four providers offering services part-time in Sonora: Matthew Ercolani, MD; Jason Phillips, MD; Daniel Su, MD; and Vanessa Blasic, PA. Adventist Health Sonora will release more information about the da Vinci Robotic System and urology program in 2021 as each full-time urology specialist joins the team. More information and appointments are available by calling (209) 536-5757.