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. Drug combination helps children with acute promyelocytic leukemia avoid conventional chemotherapy - A Children’s Oncology Group trial shows that the combination of all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide is highly effective in children with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The therapy avoids or minimizes the use of conventional chemotherapy.
    2. Ibrutinib improves survival for younger people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma - NCI researchers have found that adding the targeted therapy ibrutinib (Imbruvica) to standard chemotherapy can improve how long some younger people with a specific form of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma live. The new findings come from a new analysis of a previously conducted phase 3 clinical trial called Phoenix.
    3. Annual Report to the Nation Part 2: Patient economic burden of cancer care more than $21 billion in the United States in 2019 - Part 2 of the 2021 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, finds that the patient economic burden associated with cancer care in the United States in 2019 was $21.09 billion. This includes patient out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion.
    4. NCI study highlights pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino adults - A large surveillance study led by NCI researchers suggests that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused more deaths in the United States among Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino individuals than among white or Asian individuals.
    5. NIH study illuminates origins of lung cancer in never smokers - NCI scientists and their international collaborators have found that the majority of lung cancers in never smokers arise when mutations caused by natural processes in the body accumulate. They also identified three subtypes of lung cancer these individuals.
    6. In a common genetic disorder, blood test reveals when benign tumors turn cancerous - NCI scientists have developed a blood test that could one day offer a highly sensitive and inexpensive approach to detect cancer early in people with NF1. The blood test could also help doctors monitor how well patients are responding to treatment for their cancer.
    7. Annual Report to the Nation: Rapid decrease in lung cancer and melanoma deaths lead overall continued decline in cancer death rate - The 2021 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds overall cancer death rates continue to decline in the United States for all cancer sites combined. The rapid drop in lung cancer and melanoma deaths led to the overall decline.
    8. International study of rare childhood cancer finds genetic clues, potential for tailored therapy - A team of international researchers has identified mutations in several genes, including TP53, MYOD1, and CDKN2A, that appear to be associated with an aggressive form of rhabdomyosarcoma in children. The findings could lead to more targeted treatments for the disease.
    9. International research teams explore genetic effects of Chernobyl radiation - One study examined whether genetic changes associated with exposure to radiation from the 1986 accident were passed from parent to child. A second study documented the genetic changes in thyroid tumors from people exposed as children or fetuses to radiation from the accident.
    10. Engineered immune cells deliver anticancer signal, prevent cancer from spreading - In an NCI study, treating mice with engineered immune cells shrank tumors and prevented the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. The immunotherapy approach shows promise as a potential treatment for metastatic cancer.

    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.”