LIMA — Lima Memorial Health System was recently selected as a designated site for the da Vinci Robotic Mentor Program — a feat that hospital officials believe will help “put Lima on the map” when it comes to innovative surgery techniques.
Dr. Jeremy Heffner, a board-certified general surgeon with Midwest Surgical Specialists, has emerged as a leader throughout the country in robotic surgery, and has been elevated to the prominent role of instructing surgeons and administrators from all across the country.
Lima Memorial was the first general surgery mentor site in the region, and one of only 22 hernia mentor sites nationwide.
“We’re so used to thinking people have to go elsewhere to learn or do things, but for the first time that I know of, people will be traveling to Lima to learn a new technique,” Heffner said. “We get to set the new standard of how these surgeries are done.”
The mentor program will show surgeons throughout the country how to use the da Vinci robot for hernia surgeries. Heffner said using the robot helps mitigate wound infections from the surgery, creates faster recovery times and is an overall more effective procedure for hernia surgeries.
“I believe it’s a better repair for when we fix the hernia, and there’s definitely less complications,” he said. “Also, most of my patients now go home right after surgery.”
Heffner has treated more than 500 patients with the da Vinci robot in the past two years, and is one of the top ranked surgeons in the country for the number of robotically performed hernia repairs.
Through the mentor program, surgeons and administrators will have the opportunity to observe Heffner in a clinical setting to understand how he uses da Vinci technology to treat patients. They will also learn his specific techniques, and study how to produce his clinical outcomes.
Heffner said he’s already hosted surgeons from Toledo and Detroit, and will soon instruct people from Columbus and Cleveland. He hosts the mentor program once a week, and he said he will continue to do so until there are no more requests from surgeons wanting to attend the program.
For Heffner, the da Vinci robot is the next step in the evolution of modern hernia surgery.
“It’s the most advanced piece of surgical technology ever created,” he said. We’re just now scratching the surface of what it’s capable of doing, and I believe it will become the standard for hernia surgery.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.