All About Robotic Surgery – Spotlight Feature – Dr. Iddings

January 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Cancer in the news, Publications

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Welcome to our Fourth Issue of

All About Robotic Surgery – Feature Spotlight

Our “Spotlight Feature” Series

in which we will highlight;

Dr. Douglas M. Iddings FACS
Fellowship Trained Surgical Oncologist

Special Expertise:
Endocrine Surgery; Thyroid, Parathyroid, Adrenal.
Gynecologic Oncology; Head and Neck Squamous cell carcinoma.
Hepatobiliary Surgery; Liver, Pancreas, Melanoma.
Robotic Oncologic Surgery; Soft Tissue Cancer Sarcoma.
Surgical Oncology



February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Cancer in the news

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    February 20, 2011 by  
    Filed under Cancer in the news

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    1. Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer death rates continue to decline -

      According to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2014, overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups. But more work remains for some cancers.

    2. NCI launches study of African-American cancer survivors -

      The Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) study, which will include 5,560 cancer survivors, will look at the major factors affecting cancer progression, recurrence, mortality, and quality of life among African-American cancer survivors.

    3. Study finds premature death rates diverge in the United States by race and ethnicity -

      Premature death rates declined among Hispanics, blacks, and Asian/Pacific Islanders due mainly to fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and HIV. Rising deaths from accidents, drug overdoses, suicide and liver disease increased rates among whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives.

    4. TCGA study identifies genomic features of cervical cancer -

      Investigators with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have identified novel genomic and molecular characteristics of cervical cancer that will aid in subclassification of the disease and may help target therapies that are most appropriate for each patient.

    5. New Drug Formulary Will Help Expedite Use of Agents in Clinical Trials -

      The National Cancer Institute (NCI) today launched a new drug formulary (the “NCI Formulary”) that will enable investigators at NCI-designated Cancer Centers to have quicker access to approved and investigational agents for use in preclinical studies and cancer clinical trials. The NCI Formulary could ultimately translate into speeding the availability of more-effective treatment options to patients with cancer.

    6. Early-phase trial demonstrates shrinkage in pediatric neural tumors -

      In an early-phase clinical trial of a new oral drug, selumetinib, children with the common genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and plexiform neurofibromas, tumors of the peripheral nerves, tolerated selumetinib and, in most cases, responded to it with tumor shrinkage.

    7. Cellular Immunotherapy Targets a Common Human Cancer Mutation -

      In a study of an immune therapy for colorectal cancer that involved a single patient, researchers identified a method for targeting the cancer-causing protein produced by a mutant form of the KRAS gene.

    8. No Safe Level of Smoking: Even low-intensity smokers are at increased risk of earlier death -

      People who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day over their lifetimes had a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death than people who never smoked.

    9. NCI collaborates with Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation -

      The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a collaboration with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to incorporate MMRF's wealth of genomic and clinical data on the disease into the NCI Genomic Data Commons (GDC), a publicly available database.

    10. NCI embraces scientific road map to achieve Cancer Moonshot goals -

      National Cancer Institute Acting Director Douglas Lowy, M.D., today accepted, with revisions that reflect NCAB’s discussion, the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) on 10 approaches most likely to make a decade’s worth of progress against cancer in five years, a key goal of the White House Cancer Moonshot.

    Ringing in new technology

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    Dr. Douglas Iddings stands beside the “cancer victory bell” that is located in his office. Every time the bell is rung, it signifies that a patient has beaten cancer by either entering into complete remission or by being cured of the disease.

    Davison doctor brings advanced robotic surgery to Genesee County

    GRAND BLANC — With technology in the medical field evolving more each day, one local surgeon was able to utilize it to make history in Michigan.

    Surgical Oncologist Dr. Douglas Iddings, a Davison resident, recently performed a very cutting-edge surgery in November known as Whipple’s procedure at McLaren Regional Medical Center.

    The Whipple’s procedure is a minimally invasive surgery used to remove pancreatic cancer and reconstruct the digestive system with the help of robots.

    “What we have done is the first in Michigan and there is probably only 50 done in the whole country,” Iddings said of the Whipple’s procedure.

    Iddings, who has spent the last decade in advanced surgical training, said for years the procedure has been a hot topic on the surgical front and widely discussed at meetings and conferences.

    “This is really the cutting edge of minimally invasive surgery for tackling tougher problems,” Iddings said. “It is possible though. One person did it in Italy and people are now trying it and thinking about it. For me, it just kind of all came together just coming out of training and having the latest training and access to the latest equipment and just really being ready for it.”

    Prior to the minimally invasive technique, Iddings said the treatment for pancreatic cancer had been well established as a classic open surgery where a large incision of at least 12 inches would need to me made.

    With the evolution of robotic equipment however, minimally invasive techniques began growing beyond just being applied to simple surgeries.

    “With the robotic equipment that McLaren has, we have been able to do more complex surgeries using minimally invasive techniques and extend all the benefits we have seen minimally invasive surgeries provide patients, especially the more complicated patients with more complicated

    Iddings said the benefits of minimally invasive surgeries, which include smaller incisions, less blood loss, less pain and a quicker recovery period, have been proven in prior surgeries and were proven in the Whipple’s procedure he performed in November.

    “My patient from the first surgery in November is doing well and recovering nicely,” Iddings said. “The surgery was a success and we really feel like we helped him out a lot.”

    Had it not been for the advancements in technology though, Iddings said his patient’s outcome could have been much different.

    “That patient, who was almost 70, a smoker and had past medical issues, was one of those people that make surgical risk high,” Iddings said. “These people are living longer and getting cancers and then we are faced with treating them.”

    Although Iddings said he feels the medical field is heading in the right direction and making progress in regards to minimally invasive surgeries and using robots, he said it is still “ultra challenging” to perform these types of procedures with the equipment currently available. In the years to come however as the companies responsible for building the robots constantly are improving their equipment and software programs, Iddings said the surgical field will shift to accommodate those changes.

    “In the next 10-20 years I think we are looking at most surgeries being done with a robot and that kind of becoming the standard,” Iddings said. “No matter what though, it is always important to be sure that we keep in mind our main focus is curing cancer. This is just a part of that.”

    For more information contact Iddings’ Grand Blanc office, located at 8384 Holly Rd., Ste. 1, at 810-733-8400 or go to his website at

    Robot allows McLaren doctor new way to perform cancer removal procedure

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    Matt Dixon |  The Flint Journal                                    Surgical oncologist Douglas Iddings poses for a portrait with the daVinci Si Robotic Surgical System at McLaren Regional Medical Center. Iddings has used this system to perform robotic whipple procedures, a complicated cancer removal surgery that reconnects parts of the stomach.

    Kris Turner | The Flint Journal

    FLINT, Michigan — When it comes to surgical incisions, size matters to Orie Lewis.

    The 69-year-old was shocked to learn he had pancreatic cancer when he was diagnosed during a November emergency room visit. The cancer caused him to lose his appetite and shed almost 70 pounds.

    “I was in bad shape,” the Montrose resident said.

    Lewis, who had an aortic valve replacement in 2001, was no stranger to complicated surgery and figured he was in for another 2-foot-long incision and a brutal recovery.

    “You’re not up walking around after that,” he said, adding that it felt like his chest was coming apart.

    Instead, Lewis’ cancer was removed and his digestive system was reconstructed through a series of three-inch incisions along his sides.

    His surgeon, Dr. Douglas Iddings at McLaren Regional Medical Center, performs a new robotic, minimally invasive procedure to remove pancreatic cancer. It is one of a handful of such surgeries being performed in the country and Lewis’ surgery was the first of its kind performed at McLaren.

    The surgery involves removing parts of the stomach and pancreas and the entire gallbladder, among other organs, and reconstructing the digestive system.

    The robotic surgery typically ensures less pain and a shortened recovery, Iddings said. It’s also ideal for patients like Lewis who have pre-existing medical problems, such as heart and lung conditions.

    “There are a lot of benefits to minimally invasive surgery,” said Iddings, who added that it also minimizes blood loss.

    The surgery performed on Lewis — called a whipple — typically calls for a doctor to open a person’s chest and remove cancer with scalpels and surgical tools.

    Robotic arms make it possible to do all the work through the small cuts in the abdomen. The robot is like an extension of a doctor’s arms and hands, Iddings said.

    It allows precise accuracy when maneuvering through a patient’s body — the movement of a finger or hand can send the robot to areas that fingers and hands might not reach.

    Robotic procedures for general surgery are the wave of the future, said Cheryl Ellegood, vice president of business development and clinical services at McLaren.

    “Our patients are looking for minimally invasive procedures because we all live busy lives,” she said. “With a robotic procedure, weeks are taken off of the recovery period.”

    The hospital purchased its first surgical robot five years ago and its second a year ago. At a price tag of $1.8 million each, the equipment doesn’t come cheap.

    Doctors are encouraged to learn new techniques using the robots, which can do everything from hysterectomies to prostate cancer removal, Ellegood said. It shortens and simplifies surgeries just like it did for Lewis.

    “It’s the perfect application to use for people who have several conditions,” she said.

    Although he was in the hospital for about a month after his November surgery, Lewis said his recovery was easier than after his heart surgery.

    “The good thing is when I got out of intensive care, I started feeling way better,” he said.

    Still, there can be severe complications if a whipple is performed incorrectly. Digestive fluids can eat through a person’s stomach. That can occur in regular and robotic cases.

    In Lewis’ case, Iddings said the minimal approach gave his patient a better chance at life. With a few months of chemotherapy left, Lewis is looking forward to hitting the golf course and gardening once spring hits.

    “I feel really lucky I met the doctor,” he said. “It couldn’t have gone any better.”