Ringing in new technology

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
BY AMANDA BRANIECKI 810-452-2647  ABRANIECKI@MIHOMEPAPER.COM

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 www.driddings.com.

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