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Robotic surgery at Community Hospital

The Robotic Surgery Program at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula combines the skills of experienced surgeons with the latest technology, the da Vinci® Xi, to provide safe, minimally invasive procedures. Robotic surgery at Community Hospital is currently concentrated in the areas of urology and gynecology.

robotic surgery team
Dr. Harsha R. Mittakanti, urologist and medical director of robotic surgery, and Dr. Thomas Cunningham, gynecologist and robotic surgeon with the da Vinci Xi surgical system.

About robotic surgery

More than 7 million procedures have been performed with da Vinci robots since Intuitive Surgical’s first system was approved by the Food and Drug Administration 20 years ago.

The term “robotic surgery” maybe be confusing. Surgeries are not performed by robots; they are performed by skilled surgeons controlling a robotic tool. Through a computer console next to you, your surgeon guides tiny instruments that move in real time like a human hand, with great range of motion. The system also gives your surgeon high-definition, 3D views of the surgical area.

The instrument size makes it possible for surgeons to operate through small incisions rather than the larger incisions used in “open” surgery. The smaller incisions and the range of motion within the surgical site may provide benefits including:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain, meaning less need for need for narcotic pain medicine
  • Faster recovery
  • Smaller incisions, reducing scarring

Robotic surgery procedures at Community Hospital

The DaVinci robot is used by our specially trained surgeons to perform:

  • Urology procedures to treat conditions including:
    • Prostate cancer
    • Kidney cancer and disorders
    • Ureteral cancers
    • Bladder cancer
    • Urinary blockage (from BPH)
    • Urinary reconstruction
  • Gynecology procedures to treat conditions including:
    • Fibroids
    • Endometriosis
    • Abnormal or heavy bleeding
    • Cancer
    • Pelvic prolapse

Meet our robotic surgery team

The team is led by medical director Dr. Harsha R. Mittakanti, a urologic surgeon who has trained in and performed more than 500 robotic surgeries. He completed a fellowship with Dr. James Porter, one of the world’s preeminent robotic surgeons. Joining Dr. Mittakanti on the robotic surgery team is Dr. Craig Stauffer, also a urologist, and Dr. Thomas Cunningham and Dr. Elizabeth Clark, both gynecologists. All four practice with Montage Medical Group.

Dr. Harsha MittakantiDr. Harsha R. Mittakanti

Dr. Mittakanti graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and then completed his residency in urology at Stanford University. During a fellowship at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, he trained under Dr. James Porter, who has pioneered advanced robotic-surgical techniques. Dr. Mittakanti has authored numerous research publications on kidney stones, prostate cancer, and kidney cancer, and written multiple chapters on robotic surgical technique.

Dr. Craig StaufferDr. Craig Stauffer, Urologist

Dr. Stauffer completed his residency in urology at Stanford University, where most prostate and kidney cancer operations were performed with da Vinci robotic systems. While at Stanford, Dr. Stauffer completed the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellowship to understand a clinician’s role in the design and implementation of biomedical technologies. At Community Hospital, his robotic surgeries focus on kidney and prostate cancers, as well as issues that affect the drainage of the urinary system, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostates.

Dr. Elizabeth ClarkDr. Elizabeth Clark, Obstetrician/gynecologist

Dr. Clark performed her first robotic surgery in 2013, during her residency in gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. After graduating, she joined the school’s faculty and taught residents how to operate robotically. Dr. Clark primarily performs robotic surgery for hysterectomies and salpingo-oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes).

Dr. Thomas CunninghamDr. Thomas Cunningham, Gynecologist

Dr. Cunningham has performed nearly 200 robotic surgeries. Before joining Montage Medical Group, he was director of gynecology and minimally invasive surgery at Jefferson Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, where he also chaired the robotics steering committee. He uses robotics for a range of gynecologic procedures, including hysterectomies, removing ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, and treating endometriosis.

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From the medical director

“Robotics is a fusion of both laparoscopic and ‘open’ surgical techniques, where a surgeon can have the ultimate precision and control combined with the smallest incisions possible. Robotic surgery provides me with a superior field of vision — an ultra, high-definition, 3D view of all the organs, blood vessels, and nerves in the abdomen and pelvis. The arms of the robot mimic my hand and wrist movements exactly, allowing me to operate as if my own hands were inside the body.”

Dr. Harsha R. Mittakanti
Medical Director
CHOMP Robotic Surgery Program

About the technology

The da Vinci Xi at Community Hospital is the fourth-generation robotic surgical system from Intuitive Surgical, developed based on 20 years of experience and use.

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