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Introducing the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System


partner has taken up residence in

the Shannon operating room—the da Vinci Xi Surgi-

cal System. Shannon’s mission to provide exceptional

health care to our family, friends and neighbors en-

compasses staying up-to-date with the latest medi-

cal technology, including advancements in surgical


“The da Vinci Xi Surgical System, the latest da Vinci

model, was designed with the goal of further advanc-

ing the technology used in minimally invasive surgery,”

says Ian Rae, BSN, RN, Director of Surgical Services at

Shannon. “The system can be used across a spectrum of

minimally invasive surgical procedures.”

The surgeon is 100 percent in control of the robotic-

assisted da Vinci Xi System, which translates his or her

hand movements into smaller, more precise movements

of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. Four small

incisions, 5 to 10 millimeters in size, are made during the

operation to accommodate the instruments.

The system is laser-guided and is placed in the pre-

cise location before the operation begins. The surgeon

controls the da Vinci System through a console a few

feet away from the operating table. The Xi System’s im-

mersive 3D‑HD vision system provides surgeons a highly

magnified view, 10 times that of the naked eye, virtually

extending their eyes and hands into the patient.


Currently, several of Shannon’s sur-

geons are utilizing the da Vinci for gallbladder removal,

hernia repair, colectomy and OB-GYN surgeries.

“We do complicated gallbladder procedures often,” says

Emmette “Buddy” Flynn, MD, Shannon General Surgeon.

“We have moved from a time when we had great vision

with open procedures, because we had a long incision.

Then we converted to laparoscopy and lost the 3-D vision

for 2-D. Now, in robotic surgery we have the 3-D vision

back along with better digitalization, magnified vision

and the wristed-articulated instruments. The articulated

instruments function like a human wrist, with seven

planes of movement. All of this combined really helps

minimize the risk to the patient.”

Additional advanced features of the da Vinci Xi System

include the ability for the surgeons to feed their patient’s

imaging results into the console and Firefly Fluorescence


“The use of Firefly allows us to evaluate major

ductal areas, vessels and blood flow in real time,” says

Dr. Flynn.

Firefly allows the surgeons to switch from standard to

near-infrared vision with the use of an injectable fluo-

rescent dye. When Firefly is switched on, the surgeon

sees the areas with blood flow as green and the areas

without as gray.

“The da Vinci Xi Surgical System is an exciting ad-

dition to our surgical program,” Rae says. “It’s an added

benefit not only to our team and our hospital, but more

importantly, to our patients.”

Surgeons benefit from enhanced vision and mechan-

ics while using the system. The patient benefits from

smaller incisions, which lead to a shorter hospital stay,

quicker recovery, minimal scarring and less risk of


The da Vinci Xi System is an expandable technology

platform that is designed to accommodate and seamlessly

integrate a range of current technologies, as well as future

innovations, in areas such as imaging, advanced instru-

ments and anatomical access.

For more information on minimally invasive

surgical options at Shannon, call


or visit



volunteer their time

and medical skills to support local law enforcement as

part of a Tactical Medicine Program. The program began

out of respect and gratitude for our local law enforce-

ment agencies.

James Vretis, DO, Shannon Emergency Medicine, laid

the groundwork for the Tactical Medicine Program. He

began volunteering with the Tom Green County Sheriff ’s

Office and San Angelo Police Department SWAT Team in

2015. He gained experience in the field during his time in

Jacksonville, Florida. Channeling his passion to provide

support for law enforcement, he gained the support of

additional Shannon physicians.

Since that time, the program has grown to provide

services for various local agencies, such as the DEA,

DPS and sheriffs’ departments in surrounding counties,

including Irion and Sterling.

The nine physicians who volunteer in the Tactical

Medicine Program practice general surgery, emergency

medicine, anesthesia and family medicine. They take call

24/7 from the agencies requesting a tactical medicine


“They will call us out if they feel the situation needs

our medical support,” says Dr. Vretis. “However, we are

not just there to render aid to law enforcement in the

event of an injury. For every officer-involved shooting

that is ruled justified, within five years, the majority of

those officers succumb to alcohol or drug addiction and

80 percent are no longer on the force. Therefore, for every

‘bad guy’ we save, we are also saving a good guy.”

In addition to providing support in the field, education

and training are a large part of the program. Basic lifesav-

ing techniques are often the focus of training. Recently, the

Tactical Medicine Program provided tourniquet training

for the Sheriff ’s Department.

“The least we can do is be there for these men and

women when they need us the most,” says Ben Brown,

MD, Shannon General Surgeon, Trauma Program Di-

rector and Tactical Medicine Program Director. “It’s

an honor to help protect those who risk so much to

protect us.”

VISION AND DEXTERITY: The da Vinci®Xi Surgical System

allows for 10 times the magnification during surgery,

and the surgeon is 100 percent in control of the robotic

system. The wristed-articulated instruments function

like a human wrist and have seven planes of movement.

SAFER TOGETHER: Shannon Surgeon Ben Brown, MD,

(right) and Emergency Department Physician James

Vretis, DO, (left) recently conducted training with

Sheriff David Jones (center) and members of the Tom

Green County Sheriff’s Department.

We l l n e s s




Providing support and education

for local law enforcement

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