Dr Obinna Igwilo Performs Fayetteville VA’s First Robotic Surgery Using Da Vinci Technology.

By Fayetteville Coastal Health Care System Public Affairs
Friday, September 6, 2019
An ongoing initiative to provide expanded health care services to area VA and DOD beneficiaries through shared staff, resources and facilities achieved a dual milestone recently when Dr. Obinna Igwilo performed Fayetteville VA’s first robotic surgeries using Da Vinci technology. The achievement also doubled as the VA healthcare system’s first Da Vinci surgeries at Womack Army Medical Center continuing an advancing partnership with Womack and the VA.

Assisting in the surgeries were Coastal HCS employees: Operating Room staff, circulating nurses Katherine Howard and Amanda Amon, RNs; along with scrub techs Lisa Belk-Williams, Ciji Perry, Quincy Porter and Tony Prewitt; and Anesthesia Team of Leesa Davis, CRNA, and Dora Franzoni, MD.

The Da Vinci robot uses the most advanced technology available, enabling the surgeon to perform complex operations through a few tiny incisions while increasing the surgeons’ vision, precision, dexterity, and control.

The Da Vinci adaptive, state-of-the-art technology allows the surgeon’s hand motions to be translated into precise movements spread to four robotic arms working inside the patient’s body.

Although the feat represented a first for Fayetteville VA, for Dr. Igwilo, one of Fayetteville VA’s newest hires, it was a familiar procedure as he has performed robotic surgeries since 2014. He is board-certified in General Surgery with a special interest in endocrine surgery, robotic surgery, advanced laparoscopic or minimally invasive/access surgery and Endoscopic procedures.

He was previously on staff at Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville and actively engaged with the training of medical students and surgical residents there while also serving as Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery with Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Igwilo said the Veterans who received the surgeries were “very happy to have received the benefit of this innovative technology.”

He also commented that the opportunity to perform complex procedures was one of the selling points that factored heavily in his decision to come work for VA.

Fayetteville VA Coastal Healthcare System also offers traditional minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries. Minimally invasive surgeries are becoming more common than open surgeries. Robotic and endoscopic technology continues to advance, making these surgeries easier for the surgeon and safer for the patients.

Advantages to the patient include decreased blood loss, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, and less post-operative pain. And less post-operative pain translates into less reliance on post-operative narcotics for the Veteran.

“For Veterans whose surgical problems can be treated with advanced robotic minimally invasive surgeries, the VA partnership with WAMC is a winning combination,” said Dr. Jayne Maynor, Fayetteville VA Coastal Healthcare System Interim Chief of Surgery. “We are committed to innovative and excellent care for our Veteran population.”

Fayetteville VA Chief of Staff Dr. Jeffrey Morgan lauded the Da Vinci surgeries as a sterling example of VA/DOD collaboration and the resulting benefit of resource sharing and cooperation between Fayetteville VA and Womack Army Medical Center.

Not only does the partnership demonstrate the organization’s commitment to good stewardship of taxpayer resources. But more importantly, the collaboration helps ensure patients receive the best care possible.

“Cooperation and collaboration yield rewards on so many levels,” Dr. Morgan said. “Like in this instance where VA gets access to this great Womack AMC facility and our providers get the opportunity to perform higher complexity procedures, maximizing their skills and expanding our healthcare services to our Veterans.”

He concluded, adding, “This VA/DoD partnership is a model for other healthcare systems. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to partner with our DOD colleagues to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centered care to our respective patient populations.”