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.
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:
- Abnormal or heavy bleeding
- 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.